Richard Charles Montag
April 28, 1931 – March 5, 2021
Richard Charles Montag passed peacefully at the age of 89 on March 5, 2021 in Portland, OR. Richard was born April 28, 1931 to parents Hank and Eva Montag in Portland, Oregon. Though he and his family lived in several locations along the west coast states during the early years of his profession, Richard came home, and then went “Home”, in the same city of his birth.
Richard was a loving, caring husband, father, grandfather and great- grandfather and is survived by his bride of 67 years, Mary Charlene “Charley” Montag; his children Victoria, Sheila, Barbara, and Edward; five grandchildren, Christina and Michael, Rachelle, Brittney, and Olive; one great grandchild, Ramona, and his sister Carole.
As a boy and young man Richard grew up in the field of heavy construction with his father and the family business, C.J. Montag and Sons. In 1946 at age 15, Richard officially joined the family business where his first assignment was as a water boy.
Richard dedicated his summer vacations between school years to work with the family business on state infrastructure projects, some still a part of the Oregon landscape today. Among them are infrastructures along the Santiam Pass between Salem and Bend, including the Santiam River bridge, completed in 1948. This was the first I-5 bridge to cross the Santiam River. In 1949, he worked to install the major power line between Lyons and the Detroit Dam. He helped build the south shore portion of the Ice Harbor Dam that spans the Snake River near Pasco, Washington. completed in 1959.
Richard graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland and then from Oregon State University. There he earned his degree in Civil Engineering degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
While in college, on a blind date at an USO picnic, Richard met his future wife, Mary “Charlene.” Smitten, they married after Richard graduated. Richard was known to call the love of his life “Charley”. Soon after, they moved to California for Richard’s first U.S. Air Force assignment.
After two years, Richard joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and moved the family to Milwaukie, Oregon for a short time. Then another move to Kennewick, Washington to work on the Ice Harbor Dam job site. In the time between arrival to California and the end of the Ice Harbor project, three daughters were born. Richard, Charlene continued to move with family business projects, first to southern California, with three children and a dog in tow, then finally back to Oregon. Number four child was born shortly before the family finally planted roots in the Alameda district in N.E. Portland, where they lived 42 years.
Richard, who grew up in construction and educated as an engineer, applied his skills to plan and complete all home improvement and repair projects himself. He fixed, rebuilt, and restored vehicles used by the family. He was creative and precise in doing all things. His brilliance and innovation seemed to have no end, much of which he shared with others.
When Richard and Charlene finally moved from their N.E. Portland home, with them came his personally designed work bench, his broad tool set, and every nail and screw he’d saved that he would clearly need some day to do something.
Richard’s career evolved from working on construction jobs to estimating them for competitive bids. He served as chief estimator for heavy highway contractors in the Northwest including Hannan Brothers and F.E. Ward. Richard retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1991 and from his career while with F. E. Ward in 1996. He and Charlene enjoyed several trips across the U.S., abroad, and an annual hiatus to Hawaii.
Richard was a charter member of American Society of Professional Estimators. He served as Secretary, President and Chapter Treasurer. He was also a member of Delta Sigma Phi.
The family would like to thank the caregivers and healthcare providers who compassionately provided care in his last years. No service has been planned at this time.