Being from Oklahoma, I'm kinda like Will Rogers, I never met a man I didn't like, a woman neither, especially a pretty girl. I've had such a great life.
  • 83 years old
  • Born on April 26, 1928 in Shawnee, Oklahoma, United States.
  • Passed away on April 5, 2012 in Upland, California, United States.

"In Loving Memory of Kenneth Montgomery"

Kenny Montgomery still had the first guitar he ever owned, hanging on the wall in his music room. He was twelve years old when he got that guitar. He'd already been playing for six years on borrowed guitars. 

Kenneth Paul Montgomery died April 5, 2012. He was 3 weeks shy of his 84th birthday. "Kenny" was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He played music everyday. Even when his shoulder ached and the doctor said he had worn the cartilage to the bone, Kenny would not stop playing lead guitar on his beloved Fender Stratocaster. He said it kept him young. One minute he was juicing the blues on his Strat, the next minute he'd strap on his 12 string and soar with Marty Robbins. 

When he was 80, Kenny discovered the iPod and Pandora. His grandson, Eric Hardin, introduced him to the world of electronic wonders. Kenny would welcome family and friends into his music room. With a big smile, he'd proudly proclaim, "Today I'm going to be playing along with some friends of mine." His fingers were almost too big for the iPod controls, but he eventually mastered the new device, and with the delight of a child he'd settle into his favorite chair and listen for the next song. He could play everything, from Chet Atkins to Eric Clapton, from Muddy Waters to Les Paul. 

Kenny's musical career started in a tent revival. He was six years old when he picked up a guitar and started playing along with the choir. His father, the Preacher, took this as a sign to spread the gospel throughout the land. They traveled in a Model T to small towns in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. They'd set up in a brush arbor or an old schoolhouse. Kenny would strap a pie tin on his overalls as a collection plate and stroll down the aisles strumming his guitar. But in his mind's eye it wasn't an old schoolhouse, it was the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. And he was playing to a packed house of country music loving fans. 


By the time Kenny was a teenager he had joined a western swing band, the "Triple M Boys". Dude Rawson, age 86, played fiddle and sang. He says the first time he saw Kenneth was in a revival. "He was quite a showman and one fine guitar player. He'd take his left hand and come up over the finger board and play upside down like that." Kenny went on to play with the Oklahoma Playboys. They had their own radio show every Friday night at 5:00 PM. The band's name was a tip of the cowboy hat to everyone's western swing hero, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.


Kenny played lead guitar with many old time country music singers and musicians, like Freddy Hart and Leon McAuliff, Bob Will's sensational pedal steel player. He also played with Jack Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's cousin. Jack had a number one hit song, "Oklahoma Hills Where I Was Born." 

Kenny remembers: "I was working at the Hob Nob in Oklahoma City. Jack played there off and on for a year. He sure could hold his own. We were playing on the bandstand. We probably played something the fellow didn't like, or we didn't play his song. I don't know what happened. But here come a big salt shaker sailing across the room and just barely missed Jack and me. I don't know whether it was meant for me or meant for Jack. Jack said, 'Whoever threw that salt shaker would he come up here and let me know?' A guy walked up to the bandstand. Jack hit him one time and knocked him to the floor. The guy came to in a little bit and went back to his seat and sat down. No more commotion after that. I didn't know at the time that Jack was already sick. He passed away that next year of Tuberculosis. He went out singing and swinging." Kenny was 19. Jack Guthrie was 32. 


Over the decades Kenny entertained countless fans throughout Oklahoma and later, California, where he moved in 1956. He turned down several opportunities to go on the road with big name country entertainers like Hank Thompson and Wynn Stuart. Kenny loved country music, but there was one thing he loved even more - his family. 

One time while playing in Vegas with Jack Reeves, Glen Cambell's cousin, Kenny returned home after only one week, and proclaimed he was never going on the road again. He said the fast life was not for him. Kenny preferred to play in smaller clubs near his home in Upland. During the week he worked as an electrician in the aerospace industry. On the weekends, he played fiery lead guitar at the local honky tonks and clubs with Jack Reeves and The All-Americans, and after that, with his long time singer and dear friend, Jerry Haney. 


This year Kenny and his beautiful bride, Marysue, were celebrating 60 years together. Kenny loved to tell the story of how they met. "I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world when I saw her singing in a choir. I asked a friend who she was and where she went to church. I changed my church and started going to her church. So the next Sunday, after church was over there were about six guys trying to talk to her and I thought, here's my chance. Of course I was playing in the band, the church band, which helped some. Being a musician that helped me out. It wasn't my good looks because I never had that. So the next Sunday, I walked up to her and said, 'How would you like to go out and get some ice cream.' And she said, 'Okay.' And six guys standing around said, 'What happened here? Who is this guy?' About six months later we got married." 


Kenny always tears up and flashes his signature smile when he gets to the final part of the story. "We've had a very enjoyable life together. Seems like I've been married all my life. All my success I give to her." 


Kenny counted himself one of the lucky ones. His grandson, Christopher, a fellow guitar picker and songwriter, asked him recently, "If you had it to do all over again, how would you do it?" Kenny immediately answered with a smile, "Oh, I'd do it the same. I wouldn't change a thing if I had it to do all over again. I'd do it the same."

(Kenny loved to make music and his music lives on. We invite you to explore this site as you listen to great Blues and Country Music, including Kenny playing banjo, guitar and piano, while his dear friend, Jerry Haney, sings, or while Kenny jams along with the likes of Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Junior Brown.

This Memorial website will remain forever as a place for friends and family to visit with our beloved Kenny. We can meet here and share a smile, a tear, or a song. There are so many great stories to tell about this beautiful man who touched us all.)

Posted by Susan McGunegill on 18th August 2016
Dearest Uncle Kenneth, I hadn't been to this memorial site before and reading over all of these lovely memories and experiencing such a resurgence of my own loving and happy memories of you has me choked up in my chest and throat, with tears welling up... both from missing you and the intensity of our own memories. I spent many a blissful hour with you in your music room as we made music together. Harmonizing and singing with you was sheer joy - even when I sometimes didn't really know the song. We had such fun winging it together! You have been a blessing in my life from my earliest recollections. Your kindness and caring were unending. I will always love you - you were an amazing uncle and friend.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 5th April 2016
It's been four years now. There's another Kenny in the family now - named after you. He's Eric and Rachel's son and he just started to walk. I remember how you delighted in Hannah, Austin, Eric, Christopher, Lance and Ryan when they were little. You were the world's best Grandpa. We keep you alive in the shiny face of your great grand baby, Kenny, in the breathtakingly beautiful face of your sweet bride, Marysue, and in the scores of people who loved you - as well as these 37,000 people who have come to this site to pay you a visit. Love, Love, Love, Lynn
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 15th October 2015
Daddy, I've been listening to your music a lot today. I'm working on a documentary about you, your music and your well-lived and well-loved life. It was an honor to be your daughter. I hope I can do you justice.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 26th April 2015
Happy Birthday, Daddy. Every time I listen to this song I see you playing your guitar in your music room. You're sitting on a stool, one boot on the ground, the other toe tapping to the music. I enter the room and you lift your head and smile at me and the whole world is alive - just as you are forever in my heart. Song by Lefty Frizzell, Sung by Jo-El Sonnier "I lose my blues, honey, when I'm with you No one else can do you're in my heart to stay But when I'm gone, and I'm all alone I'll be singing this song I wanna be with you, always I'd be happy, dearest, if you could only be here And always be nearer, forever and a day Then we'd travel far, we'd be some big shinin' star Just you and my guitar and stay there, sweetheart for always."
Posted by Nancy Rathgeber on 5th April 2015
Uncle Kenny...just thinking about you today. Remembering your warmth and laughter. Brought a smile to my face. Love you! Nancy
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 5th April 2015
Hi Kenny, this is from your forever loving wife, Marysue, "Me You, Me You." I think about you every day. I talk to you every day and every night. I read this poem recently and it felt like you had written it for me: "Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it." We have big news in the family. Eric and Rachel are having a baby boy. He will be born in May just a few weeks after your birthday. They are naming him Kenneth after you. We all love you and miss you and can't wait to meet Kenny 2. Before you send him to us, put a guitar in his hands and teach him a few licks. I love you, Marysue
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 5th April 2015
Hi Daddy, Here it is the 3rd anniversary since we last saw your handsome, funny face. I see you all the time in my mind, in the smile of your beautiful wife, in the sound of a great country riff and of course in the many hours of video and music recordings we have. I found a new video that I hadn't seen since we made it 5 years ago. You are working in my compost pile talking about your oil check, Jethro and the "cement pond." Those that know you will picture this scene and laugh. We love you always and forever, Lynn
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 26th April 2014
Hi Daddy, Happy Birthday. You are 86 today. You always said you wanted to make it to 100. Well you will make it that long and much much longer because we all carry you in our hearts everyday and always will. Mom is taking the train up today and we will play your music and tell stories on you and tomorrow we'll head down to your favorite BBQ restaurant and eat way too much but enjoy every minute of it. I love you, Lynnie
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 7th April 2014
Hi Daddy, It has been 2 years now, it seems like yesterday and it seems like forever. Saturday, we went to visit the cemetery. Karen scattered pink rose petals, Craig put fresh bark all around the Oklahoma flagstone. The big cowboy boot planter that Christopher picked out is all abloom. The rose bushes Mom and Karen planted have hundreds of buds bursting with spring. Sunday we awoke to your music on the jukebox. Then we went to Flo's and ordered Biscuits and Gravy with extra Sausage. I love you, we love you. You are always with us.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 2nd February 2014
Hi Daddy, I spent some time with you today on this wonderful site. Thank you to the founder of Forevermissed. You have brought peace to so many families by creating this space for us to remember our loved ones - to laugh, to cry and to ponder life's mysteries and joys. Daddy, you live in our hearts and you live on these pages. PS my new favorite shirt is your soft green flannel. I'm making a quilt with some of your old jeans. Hannah had to write a sonnet for her English class. She cheated a little and said she didn't want to write a new one so she turned in the sonnet she wrote for you. She got an A+
Posted by Iu Jhk on 16th December 2013
May his Soul rest in Peace
Posted by Brenda C Beyer on 7th December 2013
Reading your words your Father seemed to be a wonderful and talented man. I am terribly sorry for your loss. As with my Mother, the pain and sorrow of her presence no longer on this earth will never go away, time just makes it easier to live with. Beyond forever in your heart and memories. Thank you for allowing me to get to know a little about your Father....BC Beyer
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 19th June 2013
Hi Daddy, The healing process continues. When I think of you now, tears are not the first emotion. I can smile more and laugh, thinking of how you used to play the piano with your nose or walk on your knees with your feet behind your neck. You were silly and miraculous, one of God's true wonders, so talented and charming, loving and devoted.
Posted by Pilar Reyes on 26th April 2013
Happy Birthday dear Kenneth!!! From my brother and I. We miss your hugs,but I know you are keeping an eye on us from heaven.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 8th April 2013
Hi Daddy, One year. One long, yet instantaneous year. I took flowers from my garden and planted them around your headstone. I feel your love and sweet strength around me always. This week, Mom gave me the biggest gift of all. She said, "Lynny, Daddy revered you." I hope to live my life worthy of your love.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 27th January 2013
Daddy, be on the lookout for Ruby up there in heaven. She's up there to sing with you and Uncle Bud and Connie. We love you so much and when I look up and see a beautiful sky, I hear your sweet music and see your twinkling smile. Love, love, forever love, your Lynnie
Posted by Janie Cox on 17th January 2013
I just wanted to say your memorial is beautiful. I pray God will continue to strengthen you. I hope you can also take comfort in Revelation 21:4: "[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no moreā€¦the former things have passed away.""
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 4th January 2013
LaVonne wrote: Kenneth was such a good man and I miss him like crazy!!! My only consolation is that I know he is with Jesus and our dear Connie! God bless you for taking the time to write this precious article. You, Karen, Marysue and all of the family are so dear to me. Kenneth could not have had a sweeter and more loving family!! He was truly blessed!! I love you all so much!!"
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 22nd December 2012
Merry Christmas, Daddy. This is our first Christmas without you. Today I was wrapping presents and I played your music. It was so beautiful. I laughed, cried and tapped my toe all at the same time. Tomorrow I will put the music online for all your family, friends and fans to hear. I love you. I miss you everyday. You were the best daddy a girl could have.
Posted by Teresa Emsweller on 21st June 2012
Uncle Kenneth, I miss you and I will always remember how warm and kind you were. I will always hold you in my heart and remember all the fun I had as a child spending time with you.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 21st June 2012
"From Judy Summers (Yandell) - Maysville Oklahoma (part 1) So sorry to hear about my Great Uncle Kenneth's passing. My parents and family loved him so much. He will be greatly missed here from his family in Lindsay."
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 21st June 2012
From Judy Summers (Yandell) Maysville, OK (part 2) I'll always remember him coming to Grandma Cleo's house and all the family having quite the gathering and singing Gospel hymns. He always brought his guitar. Someone would always play Grandma's piano. My thoughts and prayer's will be with you all out there in California.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 21st June 2012
republished from The Oklahoman Obituary website May 27 I'm sorry for your loss but what a brilliant remembrance! I'm an OKC native, and a country music (real country music) and stringed-instrument aficionado. Your retrospective of Kenneth's life is a treasure that reaches even beyond family and friends. ~ Ben Elder
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 21st June 2012
(from the Oklahoman Obituary website May 27) I didn't know Kenneth Montgomery, but what a life well lived and a beautiful obituary. ~ Floyd Martin, Jr.,Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 17th June 2012
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I am always with you. "Me you, me you."
Posted by Krisie Groendycke Prince on 13th June 2012
His music is what I grew up with. I remember my Mom & Dad having folks over and playing records- we were country! and thanks to good music like this, it is my fav of country the good ole country- I remember when u had folks call him on his Bday 2 yrs ago and Jamie called and had a very pleasant conversation with him- u r blessed to hv been so close to a legend!
Posted by Lucia Ventura on 9th June 2012
rest in peace,
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 8th June 2012
--------From Marie and Michael, Your Dad had a big heart. It had to be to hold all the people he loved, and those who loved him. He will be truly missed.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 2nd June 2012
Tribute message from Michael Stinson, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I remember coming over to hear him play music at your house. There was so much love in the room that night. Michael
Posted by Patrick Lester on 29th May 2012
Love his music. A great Okie git picker. Can't wait to meet him in Heaven!
Posted by Richard Kriegler on 27th May 2012
From Austin-------------- You always called me General when I was younger. Then you started calling me Admiral because I love the sea. I liked it when you came to stay with us in Santa Barbara. The jam sessions with Matt were great. I loved your stories, especially the one about the chickens you raised with Memaw and they were running through the house! I miss you. I love you, The Admiral
Posted by Richard Kriegler on 27th May 2012
Ken, I liked you from the beginning. You were an artist with your music. We could communicate on that level. I enjoyed your craftsmanship. Your pianos were works of art. We shared a similar sense of humor, which is a big plus in a father in law! I see your smile and your eyes when I look at Lynn and the rest of your family. I think of you offten. You're very much alive in our household.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 23rd May 2012
----A memory from Rosa Lynn, your Dad is in a better place now. He was a good man who many people loved. Someday you will see him again. I remember that last week he stayed with you. He was so happy, laughing, taking long walks. That time was a wonderful gift from God. Emos Perdido auna gran ombre amorroso!
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 23rd May 2012
From Dude Rawson, singer and fiddler in Ken's 1st band -----------I played with a lot of guitar pickers in my life, but I rate Kenneth above all of them. Not just because he was my friend, I'm saying it because he was that good. And I am sure going to miss him. ---(to read more of Dude's memories, go to the "HIS LIFE" tab at top of page, scroll down to KENNY'S FIRST BAND.)
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 1st May 2012
From Hannah: Granddad, your name should have been - "Inspiration" because that is what you always gave to everyone. You always encouraged me in every way. We shared lots of funny stories that were our own little secrets. I love you and miss you every day. Love, Hannah.
Posted by Jeannie Reed on 26th April 2012
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY" Uncle Kenneth! You are remembered with much Love and Great Memories. Jeannie
Posted by Denise Morris on 26th April 2012
Happy Birthday Kenneth. I think of you often and always will. Rest in Peace.....
Posted by Lance Benton on 26th April 2012
Happy 84th Birthday Grand Dad. I am again too far away to attend the party but I know you guys are having fun without me. We will get together one of these days when my work here is through and then we will make up for lost time. I miss you and think of you often. Much Love, Your #1 grandson Lance
Posted by Don Benton on 19th April 2012
Ken, you will always be remembered by our family as a loving and caring daddy, father-in-law and grand dad. Our losses have been unbearable but we rest in the hope that we will re-unite in the presence of the God of the universe. Our love & prayers will be continually with Mary Sue & family. Sincerely, Don
Posted by Charles Davis on 18th April 2012
I have know Ken Montgomery my friend , when the Davis Brothers, Joe Virgil And Charles played many years ago. When we needed a guitar player Ken was the first choice but sometimes he could"t make it and the second choice stepped in but Ken was always on our minds and in our hearts you will always be remembered. love Joe Davis
Posted by Charles Davis on 18th April 2012
I have known Ken about 35 years, the first time I saw him I was walking down the rode by his home soon after that we both found out we both played guitars and we have been playing guitars all these years. I will miss picking guitar with my friend. Virgil Davis
Posted by Charles Davis on 18th April 2012
When I met Kenneth , Ken, Virgil And Joe were playing music at dances. At the time I didn"t know I was meeting a brother. Kenny took me under his protective wing, Respect is what he insisted on. I will always Love him for the brother image he bestoled on me. Love You Kenny. Violet Davis
Posted by Karen Montgomery on 17th April 2012
From Lavonne Carmikie Dear Marysue and Family: I am so sorry I can't be there with you during Kenneth's funeral!! Please know that my heart and prayers are with you all!! Kenneth was a wonderful and loving man and will always stay alive in our hearts!! Anyone who ever met him, fell in love with him and his beautiful music!! No one will ever be able to play the guitar like him!!
Posted by Nancy Rathgeber on 16th April 2012
Uncle Kenny, I loved your gentle spirit and country twang! Your music was part of you and added to your charm. I loved listening to you play. Thanks for being a wonderful uncle. Hope you're flying high with guitar in tow, charming the heavenly crowd now.
Posted by Shirley Goleski on 16th April 2012
My buddy has gone on to better things although I don't see how he could have it any better - He had the perfect life - a beautiful wife - four gorgeous daughters - and one helpful son. He also had his music room where he played every day. (Mary Sue loved this.) He will be missed. Shirley and Stan
Posted by Paul & Jill Jennings on 16th April 2012
Filled with sympathy and love to the entire family, friends and people whom Ken has touched throughout his time here on earth. We know that he now has a place to celebrate each and every day in Gods loving arms. Although he is gone the memories will live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved him. We pray for a Spirit filled comfort to all. Love... Jill & Paul Jennings
Posted by Jannette Derstine on 15th April 2012
I want to thank you, Uncle Kenny, for being such a wonderful inspiration for the love of music in my life. In all my growing up years I remember you sharing songs and playing your guitar (with my dad in tow...he loved that so much!) anytime we were together as a family, and that was pretty often in those "cousin" years. Your legacy and love continues on...here and in heaven.
Posted by Jeannie Reed on 14th April 2012
Aunt MarySue, Cousin Lynn and all my other Uncle Kenneth cousins, my heart and soul goes out to each and every one of you. Some day I wish we could all get together. MarySue was wonderful when I lost my Mother (India), her sister, and I wish I could be there for all of you too. Uncle Kenneth was a wonderful & loving man. I remember his musical talent & always singing for us. Love, Jeannie
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 12th April 2012
Message From Robert Bell: He was a special guy. He was very proud to be your dad. I loved to listen to him tell his family stories. It's hard now but joy will come later because of the parts of him that still exist in you.
Posted by Lynn Montgomery on 12th April 2012
Message from Terrie Ann: Love you all. My heart and prayers are with you.

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