Edna Montgomery’s passions included family, travel, dance

Edna Montgomery was determined to visit all 50 states, a goal she achieved five years ago.

Montgomery spent decades travelling the country, sometimes with family, other times with friends or senior groups. At each destination, she picked up a trinket or a postcard, small reminders of her journey and memories made along the way. From her final stop, Hawaii in 2008, Montgomery brought home island earrings.

The mother of four and former Fulton County school teacher made many sacrifices, her daughter Tracy Beldon said, but when Montgomery accomplished her goal, the victory was her own. “That was something she wanted to do all her life.”

Edna Montgomery of College Park died November 30 of complications from a stroke. She was 83. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Christian City’s Welcome Center. Parrott Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Born Edna Scott in Memphis, Tennessee, Montgomery attended high school in Prattville, Alabama. She graduated from Auburn University in 1950 with a degree in home economics.

Montgomery’s children were often her travel companions. They would pack in their Chevrolet station wagon and drive from state to state. “We were crammed in!” her son, Bob Montgomery of Marietta, said. “All four of us sat in the backseat.”

They visited tourist attractions and hidden roadside gems from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon, her son said. While her former husband was stationed in Germany with the Air Force, they visited many European cultural hot spots as well. Montgomery especially loved travelling in the fall, when nature’s colors were most vibrant, he said.

Even before her 20-year tenure as an elementary teacher in Fulton County, Montgomery valued education as a stay-at-home mom. She taught her children the importance of thriftiness and of saving, and she encouraged them to find their passion. “She was raised in the depression,” her son said. “She didn’t have a whole lot and that formed her life.”

She wanted something more for her children, Beldon said. “She wanted us to try everything so we had the opportunity to do what we wanted to do.” And she was right there with them for every sports game, band concert, and Girl Scout meeting.

In her retirement, Montgomery devoted many hours volunteering to Christian City, which provides services for the elderly and abused or abandoned children. It became her home in her last years. She also decided to learn to dance, and spent 15 years square dancing with groups around the Southeast.

She square danced so often, her fluffy, ruffled skirts and frilly blouses became a second wardrobe, her daughter said. Montgomery often danced at nursing homes or for the children in Christian City. “She enjoyed dancing not only for herself, but for others,” Beldon said.

Beldon said she’s grateful to her mother for passing on her love of learning and of travel, and her frugal nature. Beldon said she’s especially grateful for teaching her the importance of family. “Things she’s taught me, important lessons, I’ve passed on to my children,” she said.

Montgomery is also survived by her sons, Ron Montgomery of Tampa and Rick Montgomery of Brunswick; daughter Tracy Beldon of Marietta; sister Lanelle Hayes of Mobile, Al; and 8 grandchildren.