The celebration of life memorial service for Paul Richard Montan of Wadena was on Saturday, March 24, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena with Pastors Nate Loer and Megan Clapp presiding. Paul, a member of “The Greatest Generation,” was welcomed home by his Savior, on March 10, 2018, surrounded by his family after a brief 20 day illness at Tri-County Healthcare, Wadena, MN.
Paul was adopted into his loving family August 23, 1922, in Ironwood, MI, to Pastor Nels Oscar and Minnie Alice (Hallberg) Montan thus began the many miracles that shaped his life. From his father Nels he shared a love for religion and education, and his mother Alice sparked his love of music, all integral portions of his life.
Pastor N. O. Montan was called to a congregation in Dunnell, MN, in 1940. Paul graduated from Sherburn-Dunnell High School surviving the Great Depression. St Olaf College was the next life destination to sing for F. Melius Christiansen in the concert choir for 2 years. October 22, 1942, saw Paul’s enlistment, with ROTC experience he was offered officer training. He declined staying with his unit otherwise he would have been at the Battle of the Bulge where most officers were killed, along with surviving Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Leyte, and Cebu battles.
With WWII over, finishing an education started at St Olaf College, where he met Shirley A. Dahlquist and decided in two days that she was the one for him. In 1946, Paul joined The Honey Dreamers singing group of three men and two women from St Olaf who performed in night clubs, on the Ed Sullivan Show, Della Reece, radio, and recording the first Woody Wood Pecker song, On June 28, 1947, Paul married Shirley in Roseau, MN, with his father performing the ceremony.
Professional musician’s lives are not always easy for family life and plans were formulated to finish Paul’s education with the Gl bill. In 1952, Paul returned to school at Concordia College in Moorhead for a choral teaching degree, allowing Paul to sing for P.J. Christiansen. Upon graduation in 1953, Superintendent Ted Tofte from Wadena came looking for a Choral Music teacher and offered a job that led to 33 years of teaching choral music and history for four years, elected as President of Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) in 1968 and was inducted into the MMEA Hall of Fame in February of 1989. With another 31 years of retirement all spent in the same town enjoying golf, reading the Bible, music singing and directing, and his puppies Mindy & Misty.
Paul is preceded in death by parents, Nels Oscar and Alice Montan; father and mother-in-law, Carl and Agnes Dahlquist; son Steven Carl Montan; and brother-in-law Raymond (June) Dahlquist.
Paul is survived by Shirley, beloved wife of almost 71 years; daughter Nancy (Jim) King; son Tim Montan; brothers-and sisters-in-law, Tom and Nancy Harris, Darrell and Judy Borgen, and Harry and Mary Peyerl; along with a host of neighbors, friends and grateful students.
Burial will be held at a later date in the Hope Cemetery, Roseau, MN.
Military honors will be provided by Elmer Goche Post 3922, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wadena, MN.