Penny Lee Montgomery
ery nee McCoy, born Oct. 8, 1948, crossed the divide this Friday past, Feb. 22, 2013. She was 64 years of age. Born in Arizona, Penny grew up in California and followed her heart to Montana in 1993.
Although she earned a degree in psychology at UC Santa Barbara, she largely sustained herself over the years as a bookkeeper, and there are plenty who will attest that she was a capable one. She was an amateur playwright, having written and directed several plays while living in Santa Barbara and later San Francisco. Upon moving to Montana, her interests shifted to gardening, hiking and involving herself in the well-being of animals. Penny to a fault was compassionate, forthright and dependable.
Penny McCoy and Gary Montgomery spent 14 years committed to one another and were officially married in January 2005. With that marriage she acquired three children, Tara Slocum of Orlando, Matt Montgomery of Kalispell, and Katie Parson of Arlee. She also gained six grandchildren with four more having been added in the succeeding years. She could never quite get her head around being “grandma,” but they all would tell you that she was a good one. Gary and all the children survive her.
She is also survived by three nephews, Michael Linquist of Tampa, Eric Linquist of Orlando, and Mark Linquist, New York City.
Penny was preceded in death by her father, Col. Michael McCoy; her mother, Alyce McCoy; and her sole sibling, Pamela Linquist.
An interesting footnote to Penny’s life is her father, Col. Mike McCoy. Working as a flying instructor when World War II broke out, he joined the Canadian Air Force. When America entered the war, he transferred in. By the end of the war he was a commissioned officer and became involved with building the Strategic Air Command. He helped pioneer in-flight refueling. He eventually commanded the 321st Bomb Wing at Pinecastle Air Force Base in Orlando.
Col. McCoy was killed during a training exercise on Oct. 7, 1957, one day before Penny’s ninth birthday. Pinecastle AFB was renamed McCoy AFB in honor of her father. McCoy Field is designated on aviation maps as MCO. Although it was later named Orlando International Airport, the FAA name did not change. And so, the next time you fly into Orlando and see that MCO on your luggage tag, think of Penny.
Those who loved or cared for her are invited to attend a memorial service and potluck at the Trego Community Hall at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 2. Please send any memorial contributions to Friends of the Shelter, P. O, Box 1815, Eureka, Montana 59917