Dr. Tom Montgomery died 28 hours after the onset of flu-like symptoms on September 26, 1989. He was 35 years old.
His death was caused by dysgonic fermenter-2 (DF-2), a fastidious, gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen that can cause life-threatening zoonotic infection in humans with impaired defense mechanisms.
Born and raised in Havre, Montana, Tom graduated from Havre High School in 1972. In the early 1970s, he developed lymphosarcoma of the colon. In addition to removing the cancerous tumor, a splenectomy was done. In August 1974, Tom married Lynn Engleson, his friend and classmate from Havre.
Tom graduated magna cum laude from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, in 1976 with a B.A. in Biology. A daughter, Emily, was born in June of 1978. Emily, an insomniac from birth, made life a challenge during veterinary school in Pullman from 1980 to 1984. Yet, Tom managed a 3.98 GPA, juggling marriage, fatherhood, academics and part time employment to make ends meet. Most of the time he had a smile on his face!
On June 2, 1984, Tom graduated summa cum laude from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. For the next 22 months, Tom worked at Carey Animal Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tom, Lynn, Emily and Paul, born in May 1985, enjoyed camping, hiking and exploring in the Southwest. In April of 1986, the family happily returned to the Northwest making their new home in Yakima, Washington.
Tom worked at Tieton Drive Animal Clinic for three and a half years prior to his sudden death. Though his career was brief, Tom was respected and admired by his colleagues and clients for his dedication to his profession. Most importantly, in spite of the demands of practice, Tom was devoted to his family. Spending time with the family he loved was a priority. He enjoyed playing all types of games, hiking and camping, jogging, biking, fishing and fly tying, reading and just being home with Lynn, Emily and Paul.