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Clara Louise Hibbs Montgomery died April 11, 2022, at home in Loveland, Colorado, with her daughter, Jo, present. Clara was born June 20, 1927, in Ozawkie, Kansas, to Alice Elizabeth Cooper and Nathan Coe Hibbs. She lived most of her youth around Easton, Kansas, moving to Leavenworth, Kansas, during her senior year of high school. She married Carol “Monty” Culverhouse Montgomery in Easton on August 24, 1947. They raised their four children Jane, David, Philip, and Jo in Leavenworth. After retirement, they moved to Clearview, Kansas and then to Loveland, Colorado.
Clara lived compassionately and served her family and community. As a child, she helped her mother care for younger siblings. Clara described carrying her younger sister, Mary, on her back, creating continuing stories to entertain her. She talked about being mother figure and sister to her youngest brother, Ben, after his difficult birth. As a teen, she helped her elderly relatives who lived alone. As a high school graduate, Clara taught in a one room school. She laughs about being “my own janitor” while she was teaching. She saved her money to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan. While there she met Monty. As a young mother, she volunteered as a PTA member, grade school librarian, and Cub Scout leader. She welcomed a child who was denied involvement in other dens. As a grandmother, she showered love and time on her grandchildren with outings, vacations, and homemade treats. Tables covered with cookies earned her the nickname “Grandma Cookie.”
Clara was a storyteller, who enjoyed sharing memories from her childhood. She would talk about: The sound of their gas-powered washing machine. The smell of straw or corn husk stuffed mattresses. The feeling of moving with the stormy wind in her favorite pear tree. The effort required to turn tallow into soap. The uncomfortable feel of wearing shoes to church. The joy of potato soup and homemade bread after church. The kind gift of an orange from a neighbor during the depression. That gift started the “Christmas orange” tradition still practiced by many of her descendants.
Clara is remembered fondly. Her legacy lives on through her family, her friends, and her stories.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Carol Culverhouse “Monty” Montgomery; her son, Philip Carroll Montgomery; and her grandson, Teague Thomas Toussaint Montgomery.
Clara is survived by two siblings, Dorothy and Ben; her daughter, Jane, and Jane’s seven children; her son, David, and his wife, and four of their five children; her son, Philip’s two daughters; her daughter, Jo and Jo’s five children; and 25 great-grandchildren.
A Graveside Memorial Service for Clara and her husband, Carol “Monty” Montgomery will be held Saturday, August 20, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at the Albany Cemetery north of Sabetha, Kansas. Prior to the service, a visitation and family gathering will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Popkess Mortuary in Sabetha. After the visitation, there will be a processional to the Albany Cemetery for the Graveside Memorial Service. Following the service, the family invites everyone to join them for a meal at Paul and Bernice Montgomery’s home, 410 Main Street, Bern, Kansas 66408.
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