MILWAUKEE -- Lou Montgomery grew up a fan of the Cardinals and Cubs, transgressions for which he earned forgiveness as an adopted backer of the Brewers during parts of four decades working as an usher and tour guide at County Stadium and Miller Park. The team gave him one last
MILWAUKEE -- Lou Montgomery grew up a fan of the Cardinals and Cubs, transgressions for which he earned forgiveness as an adopted backer of the Brewers during parts of four decades working as an usher and tour guide at County Stadium and Miller Park. The team gave him one last postseason run a year ago, when Montgomery remained gainfully employed at age 96, posted as usual at the side door of the press box.
Montgomery, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War, and was wed to wife Marian for 72 years, died peacefully on Tuesday morning. He was 97.
A floral arrangement and a copy of the press notes he was known to pore over each day occupied his seat as the Brewers played the Nationals at Miller Park. The team planned scoreboard recognition for Montgomery during the game.
On his break each night, he sat with a cup of soft serve in the third row of the press box and professed his belief that the Brewers were about to start another long winning streak.
“It was an honor to know him and call him friend,” wrote Brewers television play-by-play man Brian Anderson on Instagram. “At the end of each day, I’d ask him, 'Beat up anybody today, Lou?' 'Not today, nobody dared to enter,' he’d say.
“He loved the Brewers and was always THE person you wanted to see after big wins and bad losses. His time at Miller Park barely scratched the surface of what he accomplished in his life. He loved well and was well loved. And, it was a life well-lived. It’s a sad day. RIP, Lou.”
He had been absent this season after suffering a fall before the Brewers returned home from Spring Training, but he was said to continue following his adopted team until the end.
“Honestly,” Montgomery told Milwaukee Magazine in 2013 when he was a young whippersnapper of 91, “I told my wife the first day that I worked over at County Stadium, ‘Honey, I’m gonna get paid for a job that I’d gladly volunteer to do.’ I come from a small town. We had to go 250 miles on two-lane roads to St. Louis to see a game.”
That town was Tell City, Ind., which hugs the Ohio River and Indiana’s border with Kentucky. In 1946, Montgomery wed Marian after meeting her at church, and in 1966 his job with General Electric took Montgomery to Milwaukee.
In 1987, Montgomery heard about jobs ushering at County Stadium. He put in an application and was hired on the spot, and the Brewers promptly rattled off 13 wins in a row to start the season so he never stopped, making the move to Miller Park in 2001 and taking fans on afternoon stadium tours into his 90s. Between gigs, Montgomery gathered with other ushers in the tunnel below to play Sheepshead, Wisconsin’s unofficial card game, or caught up on news clips to stay current with the team.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.