June 21, 1936 - March 28, 2018
Raymond L. Montee is gone, having left us on March 28, 2018. Born in Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas, on June 21st 1936 to Flo Crotchet and Earl Lester Montee. Ray traveled with his parents and 14-year-old adopted brother Robert Earl Montee and the family Rat Terrier “TOY”, to Newberg, Oregon when just 18 months old.
Ray spent the rest of his life after age 5 in Portland, Oregon. He attended J.V. Beach Elementary School in North Portland, where he met the love of his life Lynne Adele Parry, while in 6th grade. Ray went on to attend Benson Polytechnic High School, Class of 1954 where he became an Honor Society Member of Quill & Scroll. They were married in December 1955 after her graduation from Jefferson High School.
Eight years later, the two became the proud parents of Sheryl Lynne, (Portland, OR), two years later Brian Earl, (Phoenix, AZ), three years later Lisa Rachelle, (Phoenix AZ), and 2 years later Kevin Lee (Portland OR). Sheryl has two daughters, Brian a daughter and a son and Lisa a daughter and a son who was killed near Phoenix AZ when struck by a drunk driver.
Ray spent his early years in the printing trade with a strong penchant for writing and photography. For years he was active in the Beaverton Chapter of the Oregon Pilots’ Association and once served as president. Beginning in 1955 Ray started flight training with the hope of one day becoming an airline or corporate pilot. His first airplane was a used-1947 Stinson Voyager, followed by a 1955 Cessna-180 and still later a Cessna 140-A. His last airplane was a twin engine Cessna-310-B.
While the airline career successfully eluded him, he did manage to fly for several years as a reserve pilot for Georgia Pacific Corp., Pacific Power & Light Co., and Pacific Northwest Bell. He also was employed at one time or another by Swede Ralson of AERO_AIR, Hillsboro, OR. While there, he flew the very first Piper Cherokee from Vero Beach, Florida to Hillsboro OR. He later was employed by Flightcraft in Portland, OR where he flew the first Beechcraft Musketeer to Oregon from Wichita Kansas.
During the late 60’s and early 70’s Ray operated his own flying school known as Portland Flight Training Center. During this stint, he was invited to fly twice each day for three year doing traffic reports “live” from the air in his role as Captain Windsock, a moniker hung on him by KEX’s then-popular DJ Jack Angel. Ray also flew more than 95 trips around the rim of Mt. St. Helens, including one trip right inside the nearly born crater.
Ray was an avid musician, playing the steel guitar, and aiming for a future role on the then popular Grand Old Opry in Nashville TN. For three years he played each Saturday morning over Radio KALE/KPOJ on the Oregon Journal Juniors. He became one of the youngest musicians to join the Local #99 of the American Federation of Musicians.
From there, he joined Arkie & His Jolly Cowboys over Radio KXL which lead to many years as ‘house band’ musician for the Division Street Corral. He next played with Tommy Kizziah, Buddy Simmons, and Heck Harper at the Corral. He played on more than 28 radio stations, the first Portland Telecast over KPTV-Television, and ultimately over all of Portland’s television stations.
He played steel guitar over a KLOR-TV production starring Tex Williams and rusty Draper. He later played the Memorial Coliseum with one of the largest Nashville shows to hit the west coast and his playing was featured by the big star of the evening, Carl Smith of Columbia Records fame.
During his later years, he played steel guitar in Okanogan, BC, Spokane WA, Joliet, IL, Dallas, TX and St. Louis MO.
In 1990, Ray earned his Commercial Driving License and spent the next 19 years crisscrossing the USA, driving 18 wheelers and larger, including tour buses. He also operated his own detective agency, starting in 1961 and amassed a clientele of more than 350 Portland trial lawyers during the next 47 years.
Ray established the National Assn. for Crime Victims’ Rights and appeared on more than 350 radio/tv talk-shows during the 22 years it operated as a non-profit group. It was one of the first in the nation to establish a crime victims HOTLINE and computerized data base for “assistance”. Singer/Entertainer Connie Francis was his Honorary Spokesperson.
Ray also established Flight Freedom’s Foundation at a time when general aviation pilots and operators were enduring scathing attacks in the media about problems that were impacting the aviation industry. William P. Lear was Ray’s Honorary Chairman.
Ray leaves behind his children and grandchildren, wife Sally Johnson and his loving dawgs, ??