Eugene R. “Gene” Montany, 92, of Manchester and East Orleans (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, died peacefully at home in Manchester on Friday, May 10, 2019. He was born in Malone, New York, June 14, 1926, the son of Eugene Augustus and Irene (Chellis) Montany. The family moved to Chester, Vermont, when he was 1 year old. After graduating from Chester High School at age 16, he entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a full-tuition scholarship. He joined the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet at age 18, and in 1945 at age 19, graduated from RPI with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and a commission from the Navy, finishing his service in 1946 an an engineering officer of Naval Air Transport Squadron VR-1. Gene immediately went to work for the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Airplane Division as a designer of military aircraft and missiles. He did pioneering work in the then-new field of supersonic and hypersonic aircraft and missiles, as well as exo-atmospheric ballistic missiles and glide rockets. It was here that he met and married Martha Jane Pfanz of Columbus, Ohio, his wife now of 72 years. He continued his work in these new fields at the prestigious Aerophysics Laboratory of North American Aviation in Downey, California. In 1950, Gene returned to his New England roots with Martha to carry on his work with United Aircraft Corporation at its research laboratories, and later at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division in East Hartford. At Pratt, he was chosen to start an aircraft design and performance group to help optimize engine performance for use in military and commercial aircraft and missiles. This led to his being selected to start a new business planning organization in 1962, and later resulted in a promotion to vice president of strategic planning, where he absorbed the company’s technology planning organization to become vice president of Technology and Strategic Planning, a position he held until his 1987 retirement — a career total of 41 years, 37 of them at United Technologies. Gene was appointed to the RPI advisory board for mechanical, aeronautical, and nuclear engineering at its inception over 45 years ago, and remained a member until his death. He received many awards at RPI, including the first Distinguished Graduate of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering. He also was involved in Manchester politics for many years, representing the Republican Party on numerous town committees, including two charter revision commissions. He organized and led a 200-plus group of local people to carry out the first long-range plan (CDAP) for the town. One of the notable results of this study led to the acquisition and renovation of Cheney Hall as a venue for performing arts in Manchester. An enthusiastic lover of all things jazz, Gene had been a dedicated amateur and semi-professional drummer since his early teens. He played with several local and Florida groups and big bands, including the Temple Shriners Band for over 25 years, the Manchester Senior Band, and the Navy Dance Band. He belongs to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, and is a registered Connecticut Professional Engineer. His sister and brother-in-law, Margaret and Albert Butterfield, and grandson David Walter Montany, predeceased him. Left to remember him are his beloved wife, Martha; five children, Dr. Stephen Montany of Waiohinu, Hawaii, Eugene Jr. and his wife, Gail, of Woodstock, Mary Montany of Lebanon, David and his wife, Betty, of Lebanon, and Neal and his wife, Laura, of Westhampton Beach, New York; 13 grandchildren and their spouses, Michelle (Francesco Signorile), Nikki (Jonathan Boxer), Monica, Eric (Rachel), Analia, Carena (Lewis Kay), Marisa, Emily, Bryan, Alexandra (Jason Majewski), and Sarah (Bryan Leong) Montany, and Kathryn and Timothy (Sabina) Rea; a special stepgrandchild, Rhea Trotman; seven great-grandchildren with another on the way; and a large extended family throughout the U.S. Because of a highly chemically sensitive person in the family, we request that no flowers or scented objects be sent to the home. However, donations in Gene’s memory would be greatly appreciated and may directed to the Shriners Hospital for Children, shrinershospitalsforchildren.org; or New England Air Museum, 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks, CT 06096. Funeral services and burial in East Cemetery, Manchester will private. There are no calling hours. To leave an online condolence please visit www.manchesterfh.com
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