Dec. 2, 1928 – Jan. 11, 2020
When someone wanted to make sure a construction job was done right, they turned to H. Ernest “Ernie” Montgomery.
After retiring from his commercial renovation business, he became an owner’s agent, overseeing projects such as the Flickinger Performing Arts Center at Nichols School, the storage warehouse for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the $12 million restoration of Kleinhans Music Hall in the 1990s.
As a board member of the Episcopal Church Home of Western New York, he collaborated on the design of the assisted living community Canterbury Woods in Amherst. Since 2015, he had been a resident there.
“He was chairman of the board when Canterbury Woods opened,” his wife, Ellen, said. “He spent every day out here lending his wisdom. He would look at what was being done to see if it was being done properly.”
Mr. Montgomery died Jan. 11 at his home in Canterbury Woods. He was 91.
Born in Buffalo, Henry Ernest Montgomery II was a 1947 graduate of Nichols School, earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1951 and served in the Naval Reserve.
He then joined his father in the family business, Montgomery-Mallue Lumber, one of the largest lumber yards in the area. When it closed in the 1960s, he went to Column Acoustical Corp., later Arcon Systems Inc., a commercial contracting firm in the Town of Tonawanda where he was president and co-owner for 30 years.
“He did interior work for schools and law offices downtown,” his wife said. “He was very good at it.”
He also co-founded PlayCon, which specialized in constructing squash courts.
After he retired from Arcon in the 1990s, he served as director of business development for D. V. Brown and Associates, a local mechanical contractor.
Mr. Montgomery was a Nichols School trustee and chaired its alumni association, and was past president of the Tennis and Squash Club and the Cherry Hill Golf Club.
He was a former board member of Child and Family Services and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Child and Family Services presented him with its John N. Walsh Jr. Board Appreciation Award.
An enthusiast for the outdoors and sports of all kinds, he was hockey team captain at Nichols, played varsity hockey at Princeton, and played golf, tennis and squash well into his 80s. As a young man, he coached the Shamrock Squirts hockey team.
He was a charter member of the Buffalo Ski Club and an original season ticket holder for the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres.
In the mid 1970s, he earned his single-engine pilot’s license.
He and his wife of 69 years, the former Ellen Maddigan, were Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra season ticket holders for more than 25 years. He also was considered an excellent dancer.
“He loved music and he had a great sense of rhythm,” his wife said. “He was fun to dance with. Everybody loved to dance with him.”
In the mid 1980s, he supported his wife’s desire to become an Episcopal priest and learned how to cook while she was studying in New York City and Toronto.
A longtime resident of Buffalo’s Delaware District, he and his family summered for 40 years on Kawagama Lake in Dorset, Ont., where he was a charter member of the Wolf Circle Association. He and his wife also were original members of the Stratton Stragglers, a group of friends connected through Nichols who met one weekend each year in Vermont.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Caroline “Carey” Adams and Robin Montgomery; a son, Nelson II; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 23 in Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.