Helena native Melba Montgomery passed away on September 29th, 2012. She was born in a little house on 8th Avenue to Joseph and Caroline Montgomery on February 8th, 1922. Melba attended Emerson and Central grade schools and in 1935 entered the newly built high school onRodney Street. The 1935 earthquake damaged the school and it was closed for repairs for two years. While it was closed, railroad coaches were brought in and Melba and her classmates attended school in them. Melba graduated from high school in 1939.
After high school, Melba worked at J.C. Penney Co. and in November of 1941 married Michael Koich. They had two daughters, Marsha and Jill. She was a stay at home mom who enjoyed sewing, knitting and playing cards. Melba belonged to an afternoon bowling league and an evening sewing club. Later on she went to work as a receptionist at Eddy Bakeries General Office on Edwards Street. During her time there she witnessed many changes in downtownHelenaand watched with sadness the demolition of the Marlow Theatre. Years later Eddy’s was sold to an out of state company and, not wanting to move fromHelena, Melba went to work in the office of Dr. Burgess as an insurance clerk. In 1990 she married George McGaffick.
When Melba retired she took up tap dancing with Blanche Judge’s Dancers and they performed many places from theCivicCenterto area nursing homes. One of her earlier hobbies was target shooting. Her father, who was aHelenapoliceman for thirty years, taught her to shoot and her family called her Annie Oakley. Melba belonged to the Broadwater Athletic Club and took part in the outdoor water aerobics class for over 20 years.
She was preceded in death by her parents, daughter Jill Larson, husband George McGaffick, brother Joe Montgomery, and sister-in-law Hazel Montgomery. Melba is survived by daughter Marsha (Earl) McCall ofDenver, CO, grandson Blain (Ricki) Wenger of Dillon, MT and nephew Gary (Debbie) Montgomery of Austin, TX.
Cremation has taken place and, as requested by Melba, there will be no service. Memorials may be made to Helena Meals on Wheels Program, c/o Rocky Mountain Development Council, PO Box 1717, Helena, MT 59624-1717. To offer a condolence or share a memory of Melba, please visit below.