|Joan Ellen Lief Montgomery
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 17, 2020.
Joan Ellen Montgomery
Jan. 6, 1934 - April 28, 2020
Resident of Los Altos
Joan Ellen Montgomery was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 6, 1934. She
died in Los Altos, California on April 28, 2020 at age 86.
Joan lived at a wonderful community, Bridgepoint. Born in Brooklyn, Joan's family
moved to Washington DC when both her parents were hired to work for the federal
She graduated from Anacostia High School (1952) and attended George
Washington University, earning her bachelor's degree in American Studies.
Joan was an adventurous soul, traveling on her own to Europe in the early 1960's, on
an ocean liner. She spent time in Italy, Greece, and France over the course of a
month. Joan enjoyed European culture firsthand, getting to see the art she had
always held a passion for, but had only seen in books. While traveling, she formed
many friendships and was welcomed into their homes.
Upon her return, Joan served as an assistant to Roger Mudd at CBS. She went on to
do research at both The Washington Post and The Library of Congress, which fueled
her desire to pursue her Master's in Library Science. Accepted into UC Berkeley's
program, Joan chose the more affordable degree from the University of Pittsburgh,
where she met her future husband, K. Leon Montgomery. Their courtship evolved
rapidly, launched by an election against each other for graduate school class
president with a bet for dinner on the line: the winner had to take the loser out to
dinner. Leon bought Joan dinner, and nine months later they were engaged on a
Valentine's day to remember.
On June 5, 1965 Joan and Leon were married. They were blessed with four children:
Michael J. (Elizabeth Pipoly) of Dayton, Ohio, Julie E. of Palo Alto, California, Jason
(Anh Truong) New York City and Laura R. of Lawrence, Kansas. Joan loved her
grand-children Jacob, Daniel, and Kathryn of Dayton and Jackson and Cecilia of
New York City. Her children and grandchildren gave Joan great joy as did all the
people who worked and lived at BridgePoint.
Joan was very passionate about art, theatre, music and politics. She instilled these
same passions in her children, grandchildren, and her friends at BridgePoint. Joan
thrived at BridgePoint, being able to continue her education in art class, travel class,
and poetry class where she was both student and author. It is an understatement to
say that she will be missed.
Joan was proceeded in death by her parents, Leonard and Rose Lief and by her
husband K. Leon Montgomery.
She is survived by her children and their families, and by her brother Don and his
sons. Memorials can be made to Hospice of the Valley – San Jose, CA. Joan will be
interred in Pittsburgh, PA at Queen of Heaven cemetery sometime this fall.
The Montgomery Family is grateful to all who cared for Joan. "We love you Joan! Bye