Larry Dale Montandon, 73, left this earth Sunday, April 5, 2020, at Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, Tennessee. Larry was born to Virgil and Hazel (Grounds) Montandon in Liberal, Kansas, on January 11, 1947. He grew up on a ranch near Wallace, Kansas, and enjoyed being a big brother to his three sisters.
In 1970, he married Evelyn Reust in Guymon, Oklahoma, and together they raised two daughters. He was the kind of father you looked up to. He was tough yet fair, stood for right and never walked away from a challenge.
Larry loved his family and his country and was a steadfast advocate for Veterans and proud to be one. He never knew a stranger, nor met a horse or dog he didn't like, including his beloved horse Poco and his dogs Snoopy and Labrusky. Throughout his life, he found peace riding horses, listening to the geese and observing our natural world. He loved traveling with Evelyn, exploring new restaurants and roads, and enjoying his back-porch view of the Smoky Mountains.
Larry wore many different hats, but one of his favorites was his cowboy hat. He farmed and ranched with Evelyn and his parents for nearly 30 years, and that straw hat was atop his head often as he worked cattle or cut wheat. Larry was also proud to serve his nation and the men and women he led in the United States Armed Services, retiring as a Sergeant First Class in 1998. Larry was a Persian Gulf War veteran and a member of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas National Guard.
He also served as a District Magistrate Judge in Northwest Kansas; Manager of Kansas Veterans Cemeteries in WaKeeney and Fort Dodge; Director of the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield, and Director of the M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery in Anderson, South Carolina.
Our cowboy and soldier has ridden off into the sunset and will be missed, but Larry just may be sitting on a porch with his loved ones and fellow Veterans, reunited and sharing stories.
Larry is survived by his wife, Evelyn Montandon; daughters, Shantel Smith and husband Sean and Lennea Montandon; and grandchildren, Ryan and Savannah Smith and Cyrus Montandon. He is also survived by his sisters, Kaye Abel (John), Pat Schmitt (Dennis), and Shirley Myers (Larry); brother-in-Law, George Reust (Pauline); sisters-in-law Susie Hughey and Carrol Bursell (Chester); numerous nieces and nephews, and good friends.
Preceding Larry in death include his parents, Virgil and Hazel Montandon; his father and mother-in-law, Cyrus and Evelyn Reust, as well as sisters-in-law, Eloise Reust, Gaye Reust; and brother-in-law, John Hughey.
In memory of Larry, the family encourages you to donate to your local veterans’ organizations and charities.