August 3, 1950 - November 5, 2019
Russell Montgomery — aka “Ponch” — was born on August 3, 1950 in Hoopa. He lived his whole life on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, where he passed away on November 5, 2019 at his residence, surrounded by his family. After graduating high school at the age 18 Russell went to work for Caltrans as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver in Willow Creek, and later on transferred to Orleans. After working for Caltrans for 36 years, he retired.
Russell was dedicated to and supported his grandchildren, nieces and nephews’ sporting events, and traveling. He was an avid sports lover, whether he was yelling from the sidelines, playing, coaching or watching his teams; the Hoopa Valley High Warriors, the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors and the 49ers. Russell is well known for coaching sports and for years volunteered to be on “The Chain Gang”. He was an avid softball coach and player, traveling throughout California, Nevada and Oregon. Russell also coached football, basketball, wrestling and traditional stick games. Russell was a champion in billiards and played on many billiards teams as well.
Russell was a proud Member of Hoopa Valley Tribe and loved participating in his culture. He helped build Xonsahding Family Dance pit used for tradition “Flower Dances” and was instrumental in building the family sweat lodge and dependable in being the fire starter to heat the rocks. Russell also loved to camp, fish, hunt and pull the “trailer” to go camping.
The family wants to thank his doctors for caring for him through the years. An extra special thank you to the staff at K’i:maw Medical Center, doctor Eva Smith, the Hoopa Ambulance staff and Hoopa Tribal Police.
He is preceded in death by his parents Woodrow and Josefa Montgomery, siblings Sandra and Carl Begay, Augustine Bibancos, Floyd Montgomery, and Allen Montgomery.
Russell is survived by his wife, Mildred, of 47 years, his sister Laureen Hoaglen, his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind a numerous amount of cousins and special friends that meant a great deal to him. Russell also cared for numerous children as a foster parent.
The service will be held at the Neighborhood Facility in Hoopa California on November 8, 2019 at 11 a.m, after which he will be buried at the Montgomery Family Plot on Pine Creek Moon Lane. Afterwards a reception will be held at the Hoopa Fire Hall.
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