In Memory

Richard Montague

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03/14/20 12:45 PM #1    

Gail Weintraub (Stern)

When Rick joined our class website in 2014, I reconnected with him via email. I confessed that Ilene Siegel Farber and I had a high school crush on him. He was the "bad boy" in our class and that fascinated us. We met up with him several times outside of school. He was always with his motorcycle and his friend, our deceased classmate Eddie Siddens. 

Rick retired and was truly enjoying his tranquil life on a river in Inglis, Florida. He loved being off the grid and, even though he still had multiple motorcycles, he no longer rode them. He was staying out of trouble and was happily married. 

I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with him. He defintiely was a fond high school memory and will always remain so. RIP dear Rick.

03/14/20 10:36 PM #2    

Philip Spiess

Although I did not know Richard Montague very well at Walnut Hills, I did know his good friend, Eddie Siddens; we were in Boy Scouts together.  However, back in 2017 I had some lengthy written conversations with Richard in these pages, both on "The Forum" and in private messages we exchanged (which mildly surprised me, because, as noted, Richard was a rather silent individual).

What connected the two of us at that time was our mutual interest in, and discussion of, Cincinnati's industrial archeology, specifically, the Cincinnati Waterworks, for which, I believe, Richard worked for some time.  Richard expressed a great interest in his WHHS classmates' hobbies (although he never asked them directly about them on "The Forum"):  What were they?  Were there "any artists, sculptors, woodworkers, machinists" in our class?  He himself, he said, was a collector; anything mechanical got his juices flowing.  He started out by collecting pocket watches after reading a book on the search for longitude; he now (2017) had 75-100.  That led to the collecting of antique watch tools, and eventually he started collecting and restoring old outboard motors (I guess because he was in Florida?).  But -- as he pointed out -- in order to restore old machines, you need old machine tools, so he started collecting various historic lathes.  Apparently, the pride of his collection was a Goyen lathe (from Germany) and what he called his "MYSTERY MOTOR," an outboard, I take it, which no one, even worldwide, could identify, not even him, though he researched it extensively.

He enjoyed, at least at one time, motorcycling, which he discussed briefly on "The Forum" in 2017 with Lee Max and Jeff Daum.  As a museum professional, I would have liked to have discussed his collecting more with Richard, but he chose what he wanted to say and he chose when he wanted to say it.

03/15/20 01:12 PM #3    

Becky Payne (Shockley)

Thanks, Gail and Phil. I am sorry to hear the news and send my condolences to Rick's family, but what fascinating classmates we had! 

03/16/20 04:44 PM #4    

Dale Gieringer

I didn't know Richard well,  but have pleasant memories of him.  More so than most of us, he had a pechant for gettiing into trouble.   There were rumors connecting him to beyond-the-pale activities that I took care never to get involved in.   But we had friends in common, and a group of us collaborated  to celebrate Orange Day.  I remember sitting in the car with him injecting oranges with watered-down vodka via a hypodermic needle.  The oranges turned out to be innocuous enough, while Richard and I were on the same wavelength enjoying the mischief.

03/17/20 05:36 PM #5    

Nelson Abanto

Rick and I were very good friends and spent a lot of time together our first four years on the hill.  I felt my spending time with him gave me a certain "bad boy" status but, alas, Gail never had a crush on me.  He used to go out to the parking lot at lunch to smoke a cigarette and the one time I joined him (I didn't smoke) Mr. Ludeke busted us and called my parents.  I was grounded for four weeks but I never held that against him ( nok, maybe a little bit).  He was a great guy and a lot of fun.  My heart was warmed to see him have such a great life after such a troubled beginning.  May he rest in peace.

03/18/20 02:43 AM #6    

Philip Spiess

Having found another lengthy correspondence with our late classmate, Rick Montague (from November, 2014), I feel that I should share some of his other thoughts with you:

He said that he was a "compulsive collector"; one of the things which he collected (previously unmentioned) was guns (he, no doubt, was intrigued by their mechanisms and the lathing of the stocks).  In my previous post, I mentioned his "Mystery Motor"; he said this could be viewed on Google at "Ricks Mystery Motor."  [I tried this. and it turned up several "mystery motors," but none that I could specifically connect with Rick.]  Regarding the Goyen lathe which he collected, he said see "Shuter Goyen" on Google [I looked this up, and there it was!].  As to his collecting, he said (and I quote) "Half the fun is doing the research and collecting related literature.  I like one-off and unusual items."

As to other things, Rick liked Skyline Chili and, inquiring about what his fellow classmates were interested in, mentioned that he knew his good friend Nelson Abanto liked to fish and mountain climb (he also noted that Nelson and I loved to discuss opera).  His favorite book was Miller Dynasty:  A Technical History of the Work of Harry A. Miller and His Successors, by Mark Dees (Grouville, Jersey Channel Islands, U. K.:  Barnes Publishing Inc., 1981; 527 pp,).  He inquired, do high schools still have shop classes?  (He remembered enjoying WHHS shop class field trips to the Walter Beckjord Power Station on the Ohio River [discussed by me, Post #3541]; the Globe-Wernicke Company; the Fisher Body Plant, etc.).  I do not, on looking at the current WHHS course offerings, find "Shop," or anything near it (such as "Mechanical Drawing") offered anywhere; this I find appalling (as, I am sure, would Rick).

But our major discussion was about the Cincinnati Water Works, for which Rick worked for a few years and, as he said, he "was amazed to find there old steam pumpers still in place."  In short, recognizing the historical importance of the Cincinnati Water Works equipment -- the 1906 [?] Triple Expansion Steam Engine is the world's largest water pumping steam engine -- he promoted information about it in both the United States and Britain, with the result that the Cincinnati Pumping Station got landmark status:  in 2003 it became an Ohio Historic Landmark, and in May, 2019, the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers had it declared a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (tours of the California waterworks, upstream from Cincinnati, under the name "Cincinnati Triple Steam," are given periodically).

Steve Levinson and I were also interested in the matter of the fluoridation of Cincinnati water, a major political and scientific issue in the early 1950s.  Had it ever happened?  Richard said yes, the Cincinnati Water Works installed the equipment and used it.  He further stated that the operators and building maintenance crews who dealt with it were issued soda pop, fresh outfits, and masks when they handled the chemicals -- but mechanics (of which he was one) weren't.  Rick spent most of his time in water distribution at the pumping station [I assume the one on Eastern Avenue], but he was at the California Pumping Station (just down river from old Coney Island) for a couple of years, mostly at the Chemical West building, where they fed in chlorine and carbon.

The great quote he gave me about purifying water was:  "In reality there is NO NEW WATER!  JUST RECYCLED!!"  (That was Rick.)

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