Obituary of Neil C. Montanus
Neil C. Montanus peacefully on September 6, 2019 at age 92, predeceased by his wife Audrey; daughter Lisa Montanus, son Daniel Montanus; brothers, Mark & Lee Montanus; sister Delight Belt. Neil is survived by his son Jim Montanus; grandchildren, Manny (Kris) Burgio & Ryan Montanus; great grandchildren, Brooke & Michael Burgio; brothers, Jim,Tom & Eugene Montanus; many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on FRIDAY September 20, 4-7 PM at the funeral home 1411 Vintage Lane, Rochester NY 14626. Neil’s celebration of life will be held at 1 PM Saturday September 21, at Lakeview Community Church, 30 Long Pond Road, Rochester NY 14612. Private interment. In Lieu of flowers please direct memorials to Lakeview Community Church.
Neil was born and raised in Illinois, the son of a Presbyterian minister and was the oldest of seven children. He served in the US Army in various capacities during WWII and was later called back into service during the Korean War. He was married to his beloved wife, Audrey, for 61 years. Athletics and physical fitness were an important part of Neil’s life. He credited his physical conditioning with helping him withstand the rigors of his far-flung travels around the world as a Kodak photographer. He was also an excellent athlete (tennis, volleyball, and basketball) and an athletics coach at the Kodak Office Recreation Club. He won several major local tennis tournaments into his 50's, and he ran a full marathon at age 55.
Neil was also an accomplished tenor vocalist and musician (trombone). He sang in the Eastman Opera Under the Stars in Highland Park Bowl and was a lead tenor soloist at the Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church in Brighton.
It was the ultimate photography dream job. From photographing under the seas to the top of mountain ranges, Neil traveled the globe, photographing the world's most beautiful and exotic locations and some of its most famous people.
Beginning in the 50's, Neil toured Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, India, Taiwan, the South Pacific - more than 32 countries in all - and even spent several nights with a former headhunting tribe in the jungles of Borneo. As a result, his career has been called legendary and his photographs have been seen by of millions of people around the world through Kodak advertising.
His resume includes the ‘best portrait ever’ of Walt Disney (still in use today), the official presidential portrait of Gerald Ford - and a fellowship with the American Society of Photographers, one of only 27 photographers in the world to hold that distinction when he was awarded it in 1977. He earned the Master of Photography from the Professional Photographers of America in 1961. And he won several international photography awards.
It was his unmitigated passion for photography - combined with a greatest-generation work ethic - that never diminished over all those years, constantly motivating him to create prodigious amounts of new work.
The Montanus Family would like to thank everyone at the Hildebrandt Hospice Care Center in Greece for providing a peaceful and painless transition to his next life.
Neil was a devout Christian and the family can take solace that he is now in heaven with his mother, brothers, and sister. He was one of those rare lucky people who not only reached, but exceeded, all of his goals and dreams. As he looked back on his life, we know he had no regrets.
The family is very proud of his accomplishments, but we are most proud of who he was as a person – a kind and gentle soul who was incredibly compassionate.
~Jim MontanusTo send flowers to the family of Neil Montanus, please visit Tribute Store