Obituary of Blair Montgomery
Blair Montgomery, a man full of love and joy and kindness, impossibly but peacefully left the world on Friday, June 23rd, 2023. His spirit is carried on by his wife Sue, his two children, Michael (Paige) and Kate (Jamie), four grandchildren (Kerrigan, Cormac, Sara, and Nathan), three surviving cousins (Bill, Chuck, and Thom - all like brothers), and an extended family of lifelong friends whom he loved and cherished. We were blessed to learn many valuable things from Blair during his 75 years, among them: the best restaurant in any city/state/country you’re headed to (whether he’s been there or not), the best movie at the theater (whether he’s seen it or not), and the best book in whatever genre (because those he’s likely to have read). We also learned that Blair believed the future of meaningful education is in certificate programs and skilled trades, that people are meant to learn new things all throughout their lives, and that “we the people” means “all of the people.” Blair was positive, upbeat, and engaging. He was an unending source of knowledge, both useful and obscure, and was not to be challenged in a game of Trivial Pursuit or a round of Jeopardy by anyone who likes to win. Born in Weston to Susan and Donald Montgomery, Blair was an only child raised by a strong, single mom after the passing of his father when he was only six. While his self-proclaimed greatest achievement in life was his 54-year marriage with Sue (i.e. “the best thing to happen to [him]”), Blair had many notable moments, such as serving as the director of the Caperton Center in Clarksburg, his service as the first president of Pierpont Community and Technical College, and his contributions to its many fine programs, including the Culinary Arts Program and the Vet Tech Program. Blair was a passionate champion of and ambassador for accessible adult education. One of his fondest memories was traveling to China as one of eight college presidents chosen as US delegates to share the successes of America’s rural community colleges. Another career highlight and point of pride was testifying before the US Congress about the challenges facing those same institutions. In addition to his commitments to family and higher learning, Blair was a community anchor. He served on the board of the Marion County Public Library, and was an elected member of both Fairmont’s City Council and the Marion County Board of Education. He further volunteered his time in service to cancer patients as a driver for Marion County Ride to Survive. There aren’t many upsides to a terminal illness, but being intentional in your goodbye is one of them. Blair chose to leave this world the same way he lived in it - with open arms, an open door, and a commitment to eat, drink, and be merry. The last three weeks of his life were filled with visits from friends across the span of his lifetime, hilarious stories, inside jokes (he gotcha last, by the way), laughter, music, and love. So much love. The celebration of Blair's life will be continued on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 1 o'clock in the afternoon at the Pierpont Community and Technical College, 500 Galliher Drive, Fairmont, WV 26554. In lieu of flowers, Blair asked that folks consider making donations to their favorite organizations. If you’d like to support Blair’s organizations of choice, please give to the American Civil Liberties Union (www.aclu.org) OR the Pierpont Foundation (www.pierpont.edu).