Jan. 26, 1921 – May 8, 2012
Benny R. Montanez went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 8, 2012. He was born Jan. 26, 1921, in Denver and raised in Lovell.
He resided there until he joined the United States Army and served in the Philippines from 1944-1945. He also served in the United States Air Force Reserves, where he was a part of the 2347th, the 452nd bomb wing, and the 451st amphibian truck company. During his service he was an amphibian truck driver and a sharpshooter carbine. He participated in battles in the North Solomans, in the Southern Philippines and in Luzon.
He received many decorations during his service, including the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one Bronze Star, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Arrowhead, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
After his time in the service Benny moved to Santa Ana, Calif. and resided there for 29 years until he returned to Lovell in March of 1972. He returned to California in 1975 and settled into Escondido, where he resided until his death.
He was preceded in death by his father, Guenobelo Montanez; mother, Isidra Ramos Montanez; wife, Esther Felix Montanez; daughter, Sally Berela; and grandson, Joseph Berela. He was also preceded in death by his brother Phillip and Josefa Montanez; sister Senona and Frank Padilla; brother Manuel and Aurora Montanez, brother Paul and Bessie Montanez; sister Teresa Montanez; nephew Robert Contresa; and sister Mary Contresa. He is survived by his son, Benny F. Montanez, and daughters Anna Jean Smith (Tom) and Gloria Zamora (Recardo), plus eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
He worked at El Toro Marine Base as a heavy equipment operator and retired in November of 1971 He also worked at Surefit on Main Street in Santa Ana, Calif. and the 76 Gas Station at the corner of Edinger and Flower Street. He was involved in the Men on a Mission organization and helped build churches in Tecate, Tiajuana and other places in Mexico. He also helped build in Hawaii, Canada, Oregon and California.
He did missionary work in the California and Mexico jails. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 0149.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 12 p.m. at Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park and Mortuary in Costa Mesa, Calif.