Montgomery Noelke

Montgomery Blackwell Noelke, Jr. of Mertzon, age 84, died peacefully at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas on Thursday, December 6, 2012. He was born June 17, 1928 in San Angelo, to Montgomery Blackwell Noelke Sr. and Nan Lackey (Delong). His stepfather was James Aubrey Delong of Mertzon. Monte attended the University of Texas at Austin. Monte was a longtime resident and rancher in Irion County. He was a West Texas character and literary icon, known not only in the San Angelo area but throughout West Texas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and the upper Great Plains. Though his primary profession was cowboy, he sustained a remarkable commitment to, and an intense love of literature. He wrote the weekly “Short Grass Country” column for the West Texas Livestock Weekly paper for over fifty years. His first payment was a white, 16.1 hand horse, named Bluecher, of deeply gentle disposition. Though often humorous, illogical, and fanciful in nature, his columns were also a testament to the often bleak and painful side of the changing West Texas ranching industry. Monte maintained a near religious dedication to the writing of his weekly columns until the very end. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to Bobby Frank and the Livestock Weekly. We also wish to thank his many loyal readers far and wide. Monte, like many of his generation, lived through and survived what is known as “The Time It Never Rained” (Elmer Kelton). Later in life he became a self taught gourmet chef and could be seen in bow ties, English cap, and dapper suits. He traveled the world with the love and light of his life, the poet cowgirl Cheryl Clayton. Often they would pull away from the ranch in predawn, full of anticipation to catch a flight to a writer’s conference in Ireland or head to the Galapagos, Indonesia, or a tent safari in Africa. These were the greatest times of Monte’s life, aside from the times at Monument Ranch. Monte was also a contributor to education and the arts. He was president of the school board in Mertzon for many years. He has been instrumental in the recent renovation and expansion of the Mertzon Library and for the past several years has sponsored a visiting poet to the Mertzon School. His work in Alcoholics Anonymous for thirty five years benefited countless individuals and families. If you knew Monte and find yourself whistling, walking every day, delivering home cooked food to those in need, writing post cards from places as diverse as Mertzon and the Galapagos, or leaving two dollar bills as tips, you will know he is the source of your inspiration. Survivors include Cheryl Clayton, the light of his life and his beloved partner of 23 years; brother, Walter Noelke, and sister, Gretchen Noelke of San Angelo; eight children and spouses/partners: Paula and Nick Starche of Austin, Montgomery Blackwell Noelke III of San Antonio, Fred Noelke of Boulder, Colorado, Lea and Holly Noelke of Austin, John and Lisa Noelke of Pleasant Valley, Connecticut, Ben Noelke and Harper Ray of Austin, Ralph Noelke of Mertzon, and George Noelke and Marlenia Richardson of Austin. He is beloved by his many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Monte was preceded in death by Margaret Brons Noelke his wife of 35 years. Services will be held at 11 AM Monday, December 10, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Mertzon, Texas. Interment will follow at the Mertzon Cemetery. Relatives and friends are welcomed to Johnson’s Funeral Home Chapel for a visitation from 5:30 to 7 PM preceded by a rosary at 5 PM on Sunday December 9. Memorial contributions are welcome at Friends of Irion County Library, Box 654, Mertzon, Texas 76941. Family and friends may sign an online register book at


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Montgomery Noelke

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Tony Howard

November 29, 2016

My wife and I were in town for the big game on Thanksgiving weekend and were saddened to learn of Mr. Noelke's passing. We and a few family members and friends hunted deer and wild turkey on his upper Vinson pasture from 1992-1998. It was a pleasure to know him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May God bless you all.

L E Sawyer

February 28, 2013

He shared his kitchen table, a bottle of mineral water and many fine stories one day at his home in Mertzon. It was an inspiration to know such a kind and generous gentleman.

Toney Aid

December 28, 2012

The Store- 28/12/12

Monte, Doc and I are waiting for one more postcard. See if St. Peter will mail it for you. Toney

Dwight Luna

December 21, 2012

Lost a friend we hadn't met yet. Monte and I had discussed the merits of Los Potrillos restaurant in Santa Fe,"Sounds like they named it after the skillet they fry tortillas in." he commented.
When the postal service threatened to close our small post office, Monte and I shared thoughts on rural post offices where the clerks read postcards from our grandkids.
Thought that perhaps we would meet in person along the trail. Sorry to miss that chance.... Dwight Luna

Charles Rodenberger

December 21, 2012

I will miss Monte's columns in The Livestock Weekly. I felt like I knew him personally from reading his columns. We had much in common.

Paul Krause

December 17, 2012

My condolences to the Noelke family. I hope Monte fully understood what his work meant to his readers. He was one of kind for sure. I regret not having the opportunity to know him personally.

Allen Chasak

December 17, 2012

I always looked forward to reading his articles in the Livestock Weekly. Peace be with you Noelke family.

Teresa Wendland

December 14, 2012

Upon returning from a trip I was told of Monte's passing and am sorry to have missed the service. Mr. Noelke was a one of a kind gentleman and such a free spirit and joyful soul. I always loved the bowties, his sense of humor and his Monte-ness in general! I will miss him and am sorry for your loss. Peace and prayers and God's healing to the family
Teresa Wendland

Rich & Liz Morton

December 14, 2012

Paula and Nick
Sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. Hope you find solace in lots of wonderful memories.

Naomi Nye

December 13, 2012

Monte Noelke was one of the world's most shining and original people. To call him friend was a treasure. Deepest sadness and gratitude to Cheryl and all the Noelke family, wishing you comfort, may his gentle spirit always feel close. I think Texas has just tipped onto its side.