A. Harold “Hal” Montgomery Jr. of Doyline died on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, after a short but hard fought battle with liver cancer. He was born to the late Azalee Wilson Montgomery and Senator A. Harold Montgomery Sr. on Sept. 17, 1946.
Hal grew up in Haughton until his family bought a farm, named Ranch Azalee after his mother, in Doyline when he was approximately 8 years old. Hal spent the remainder of his childhood and high school years in Doyline, where he learned to ride bulls, raise cattle and work on the farm.
Hal met his wife of 47 years, Linda Burge Montgomery, in third grade when his family first moved to Doyline. Hal and Linda were childhood friends, then high school sweethearts. They graduated from Doyline High School in 1964. Hal and Linda married 13 years after they first met in September of 1967. Linda was both the love of his life and his best friend.
Hal earned a degree in animal science in 1969 from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches where he was amember of the university’s rodeo club. After college, he and Linda returned to Doyline to make their home and raise a family on Ranch Azalee.
Hal was involved in a number of organizations over the years, including the Doyline Lions Club,
Doyline Jaycees, Louisiana Cattleman’s Association and the Webster Parish Cattleman’s Association where he served as president. In 1974, Hal was selected to represent Webster Parish as its representative for Louisiana Outstanding Young Farmer. Hal was a 47-year member of the Southern Methodist Church of Haughton where he served in many leadership positions over the years, most recently as board chairman and congregational leader.
Hal was a cattleman, business man, and an outdoorsman. At one time he owned and managed over 1,800 acres of cattle lands in Doyline and Homer. In 1982, Hal along with business partner and longtime friend, Harold Holley, opened Hol-Mont Distributing and Sales in Minden, which they sold in 1996. Hal has been an owner of Central Herrin Storage and Transfer, Inc. along with dear friend and business partner, Harold Roberts, since 1980 and served as president since 1997.
Hal loved to hunt, fish, and hone his skills as a marksman. He was an advocate for the Second Amendment right to bear arms and was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Hal enjoyed serving as an assistant instructor at Concealed Handgun Carry Courses and was a certified Sig Sauer Armorer.
Perhaps due to the legacy left by his father, the late Senator A. Harold Montgomery Sr., Hal also enjoyed politics and often became actively involved in campaigns for local candidates.
Hal was known by many for his booming voice and larger than life personality. He was a gifted cook and loved entertaining a crowd with delicious food and fellowship. He never met a stranger and seemed most content when surrounded by friends, old and new, telling outlandish tales. Friends and family would beg him to tell old yarns again and again, despite knowing the words by heart.
Of all his accomplishments in life, Hal was most proud of his family, his wife of 47 years, two daughters and his grandchildren. Both of his grandsons were given his name – Benton Montgomery Bates and Hal Montgomery Madison. Through them he believed his legacy would live on. As his life came to an end, his only regret was not having enough time with his grandsons to hunt, fish, and teach them about the family farm he loved so dearly.
Hal was a man of faith. Throughout his illness, his faith never wavered and was a source of much strength.
Hal is preceded in death by his mother and father, Azalee Wilson Montgomery and A. Harold Montgomery Sr. He is survived by his wife, Linda B. Montgomery, two daughters Leigh Ann Montgomery Bates (husband Bradley Eugene Bates) of Doyline and Tara Montgomery Madison (husband John Meek Madison III) of Baton Rouge, and his grandchildren, Benton Montgomery Bates, Hal Montgomery Madison, Brooks Sidney Madison, and John Parker Madison.
Hal loved so many that he joked that he needed more than 20 pallbearers. After much difficulty, his family selected the following honorary pallbearers: Lynn Beaty, Marty Brittain, the Honorable Foster Campbell, Jack Custer, Mark Headrick, Harold Holley, Mark Montgomery, Garland Peterson, Harold Roberts, Roger Reeves, Larry Small and Mike Walker. But, all of Hal’s friends maintained a place of honor in his heart.
A visitation service will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015 at Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home located at 601 US Hwy 80 East. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 at First Baptist Haughton with burial at Haughton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Southern Methodist Church of Haughton, P.O. Box 337, Haughton, LA 71037 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org/tribute.
It has been said that Hal was a friend of many and an enemy of none. Throughout his life, he touched many lives in distinct ways, some of which he likely never knew. He will be deeply missed by all who loved him.