Harold Wesley Montross passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25, 2020. Harold lived in Madison, Wisconsin area for over 60 years, most recently residing at the Legacy at Noel Manor in Verona. He had just celebrated his 100 th birthday on February 27, 2020 surrounded by family and loved ones.
Harold was born to George and Zeulah (Cole) Montross in Millersburg, Iowa February 27, 1920. He graduated from Millersburg High School in 1937. He enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War II in his junior year of college at Iowa Wesleyan College. Enlisting in the Officer’s Training Program, allowed him to finish school. After graduation, he went to Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, where he completed his training. Here he met and married his wife Shirley (Gillen) in the fall of 1943. Two weeks after their marriage, he shipped out to serve as the Communications Officer aboard the LST 465 which completed tours in the Philippines, and other locations in the Pacific theater.
Once the war was over, Harold and Shirley built a life together in Wisconsin. Harold worked for the University of Wisconsin system for 35 years, touching the lives of many through his work in Extension. When he retired in 1985, he was the Dean of the Extension program, and a Professor Emeritus of Education.
Longtime supporters of Badgers Athletics, Harold has made generous gifts of endowed scholarships to the University of Wisconsin. Both he and Shirley enjoyed many years as season ticket holders to Badger Football, Women’s Volleyball and Women’s Basketball games. This love of sports, especially the Badgers, was passed on to their two daughters, Barb and Becky, and to their granddaughter, Erin.
Harold was an avid bowler and participated in many leagues in the Madison area. He also loved reading and was truly a life-long learner. His humble beginnings on a farm in Iowa and his love for the land was maintained throughout his life, as well. He had a 7 acre farmette outside of Verona, where he not only raised his family; but had many beautiful gardens and orchards. He and Shirley also bred and showed St. Bernards for 20 years. They owned Hickory Knoll Kennel, which was well-known throughout the U.S.
Harold continued to touch lives through education, even after retirement. Carrying on a legacy started by his wife, Shirley, Harold tutored children for many years in the Verona School District as a volunteer with RSVP.
Harold is survived by his two loving daughters, Barb Montross of Madison and Becky (Doug) Chalmers of Cottage Grove, and his granddaughter Erin (Andrew) Lorandos and great-granddaughter, Ava Lorandos, of Phoenix, Arizona, and cherished friend Jerry Erdmann of Verona.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, parents George and Zeulah Montross of Millersburg, IA, his brother Lloyd “Bud” (Johanna) Montross of Iowa, and his sister Barbara Bock of California and Iowa.
In this time of sadness his family takes comfort in knowing Harold and Shirley are together again, reunited in love and the embrace of eternity.
We will always remember you for your wonderful dry sense of humor.
…You went by many names: Harold, Hal, Monty, Daddy, Baba and Great Baba, and we will miss you – always.
A memorial service will be held at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hartland Hospice Services of Madison.