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📍 4301 N Main St, Rockford, IL 61103

Ruth Elaine Montana

09/04/1931 - 05/20/2023


Obituary For Ruth Elaine Montana

Ruth Elaine (Stover) Montana of Rockford, Illinois, also known to most as “Ester” or “Jaws”, departed peacefully, at the age of 91 on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at home surrounded by her loving family.

Ruth was born September 4, 1931, in Rockford, Illinois, the daughter of Roy and Myrtle (Clark) Stover. In her early years, she grew up in southwest Rockford during what she described as the “Glory Days”. Roller skating was one of her favorite activities, she also loved going to movies with her friends and sneaking into the Rockford Peaches baseball games at Beyer Stadium, memories of which she often reminisced.

In 1947, Ruth worked for the Brearly Company, located in Rockford, Illinois, where she manufactured bathroom scales and soon met her husband-to-be, James Montana. Thereafter, she fell head-over-heels for James, leading to their wedding on July 9, 1950 (celebrating almost 69 years of marriage together until James’ passing in 2019). In time, they welcomed five children, ultimately nine grandchildren and over twenty great-grandchildren – which she greatly adored.

In later years, Ruth enjoyed babysitting grandchildren, spending time with family & friends, and celebrating special occasions. She also loved playing Bingo weekly with her friends. You couldn’t catch Ruth without watching her daily Soap Operas, Little House on the Prairie, and Golden Girls, or talking about her Elvis Presley. She always loved being outside, sitting on the porch and enjoying the sunshine, often having an iced tea in one hand and her cordless phone in the other. She would chat away for hours, waiting for the usual family members and friends to visit.

Anyone who was in Ruth’s presence was sure to be entertained by her humor and ability to create a laugh under any circumstance. Ruth had a big heart and adored her family, remembering every story in detail until the very end. She will be forever missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.

Preceded in death by her husband James Montana, parents Roy and Myrtle Stover, step-mother, Ruth Stover, brothers, Jerry, and Roy Jr. “Smokey”. Survived by her children, Jim “Chick” (Katherine) Montana, Charles (Tammy) Montana, Mike Montana (Tracy), Judy (Dave) Wilcox, and Pete (Lori) Montana. Grandchildren, Stephanie (Bryan) Wolfe, Jeremy (Ali) Montana, Kyle (Stephanie) Montana, Michael (Netanya) Montana, Tiffany Montana, Raquel Montana, Joey DiVerdi, Whitney (Steve) Stoltz, and Gabrielle Montana (Joe Byers). Beloved great-grandchildren, and Many nieces and nephews.

A special thank you to her caregiver and friend, Zetta, and also to OSF Hospice.

The family will be holding a private ceremony to celebrate Ruth’s Life. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Arrangements completed by Tony Gasparini Funerals.

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  • 05/31/2023

    Aunt Ruth and my mom Rose (Ruth's sister-in-law) spoke almost daily. Aunt Ruth, who adored Betty White, would call mom to tell her to turn on the TV when Betty was on. Aunt Ruth gave me the nickname Senorita when I was very young and I love it! I know she and mom are rejoined right now—-talking with Betty!!! Hugs to my cousins for their loss and prayers for healing!

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