Date of BirthMarch 06, 1921
Date of PassingNovember 02, 2018
from Douglas, Arizona, United States
Rafael “Monty” Montelongo, age 97, peacefully passed away Friday, November 2nd at the VA Community Living Center in Orlando, FL. He was born on March 6, 1921 to Mexican immigrants, Rafael and Soledad Montelongo.
Mr. Montelongo is survived by his wife of 72 years, Billie, two children: William Ralph Montelongo (Caroline) of Tucson, AZ, Mary Clegg of Oviedo, FL. He leaves behind four grandchildren: Dawn Brosie (Kenny) of Fairview, TX, Brenda Grima (Rick) of Casselberry, FL, Dana Nelson (Daniel) of Evansville, IN, and Keila Vargas along with four great grandchildren: Chase Brosie, Cole Brosie, Xavier Seitz and Eric Nelson. Mr. Montelongo also leaves behind two sisters: Amelia Varela – Los Angeles, CA and Elizabeth Lopez – Tucson, AZ and many nieces, nephews and great friends.
Mr. Montelongo is preceded in death by his grandson William Ralph Montelongo, II and granddaughters Shari Lynn and Lori Lynn Montelongo.
Mr. Montelongo was born in Douglas, AZ, a small border town southeast of Tucson, where he was affectionately given the nickname “Fiji” by his track teammates for his small stature. Fiji joined the U.S. Navy on August 24, 1942 and his commanding officers quickly started referring to him as “Monty”; which followed him through the rest of his life.
His successful 27-year career as a naval photographer provided Monty with boundless experiences that included: his assignment in Washington, D.C. as the presidential photographer to President Eisenhower; photographing Hiroshima, receiving a St. Peter’s medallion from Pope John XXIII.
Monty was a three-war veteran who received a number of awards and commendations that included: the bronze star, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Monty was stationed in numerous places throughout the U.S. and around the world, including: San Diego, CA, Guam, Jacksonville, FL, Sanford, FL, Albany, GA and Pensacola, FL. The discipline and patriotism he learned in the Navy never left him, as friends and family will attest.
After Monty retired from the Navy, he went to work for the CBS affiliate in Orlando, FL, then known as WDBO. Monty loved to travel with his family as often as possible. Because of his love of learning, Monty always accepted the challenge of repairing anything that others thought couldn’t be fixed. He loved to garden and documented his results through his love of photography. His life was full and well lived, and he was loved beyond words.
Services will be held this Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 10:30am in the chapel at St. Stephen Catholic Community, 575 Tuskawilla Road, Winter Springs, FL.
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