Shooting victim's mother recalls 'fun-loving' sonAnne Montag and her husband, Larry, have plenty of physical reminders of their son. When she looks at the lake near their home in rural Big Stone City, she remembers how a young and fun-loving Matt Montag would swim, canoe and, on some occasions, swing off a rope into the water.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
BIG STONE CITY — Anne Montag and her husband, Larry, have plenty of physical reminders of their son.
When she looks at the lake near their home in rural Big Stone City, she remembers how a young and fun-loving Matt Montag would swim, canoe and, on some occasions, swing off a rope into the water.
A set of stairs in the house sparks memories of Matt sneaking up into the kitchen after supper for one more helping of his mom’s cooking.
The gun cabinet Matt made as a high school senior still stands in the family’s home, a reminder of his carpentry skills and his deep love of hunting.
“Ever since he could get a license, he got one,” Anne said. “He was out there all the time.”
Sadly, the gun cabinet is now also a reminder of the shooting incident that took Matt’s life.
He died on the evening of Dec. 4 in Mitchell, the victim of what police called an accidental but reckless shotgun blast from the hands of friend and Mitchell Technical Institute classmate William Davis. Authorities charged Davis, who is being held at the Davison County Jail, with first-degree manslaughter.
Last weekend, Montag was buried in the St. Lawrence Cemetery in Milbank. He was killed only hours before what would have been his 20th birthday.
In a phone interview from the family home on Friday, Anne Montag remembered her son as a handy kid with a love of hunting and fishing. She said her son bagged his first pheasant at the age of 12. Three years earlier, he landed an 8-pound walleye while fishing off the deck near the house.
He was also a determined student. Matt was dyslexic, so Anne was concerned about his enrollment in MTI. She was concerned that, being so far from home, he wouldn’t receive the help he’d become accustomed to with his studies.
But Matt wouldn’t budge and became a dedicated student in MTI’s utilities technology and power line program.
“He put his head down and went,” his mother said. “The teachers told me that he was a kid they could count on to be there every day. He did so well.”
With her son gone, Anne said she’s taken comfort in the support of friends, family and teachers and students at MTI.
“The response has been overwhelming. I don’t know a lot of the people,” she said. “It makes me feel very good about my son that he lived a good life. It’s wonderful.”
With the death of Matt still fresh in the minds of family and friends, Anne said it’s too early to decide how they plan to honor his memory. She’s considering establishing a scholarship for students with learning disabilities, but has made no final decisions.
For now, she can look in her yard and see all the bushes and trees Matt helped her plant almost two years ago. She can see the craft projects she painted using wood Matt cut for her.
Most of all, she can reflect on how proud she was of her son the student, the outdoorsman, the lover of crazy comedies, the boy who spent six years raising ducks, chicken and geese and was the only child who could run the old tractor.
“He was always tinkering with something,” Anne said. “He was a fun-loving kid.”
Tags: big stone city, anne montag, larry montag, matt montag, accidental shooting, william davis, mitchell technical institute, st lawrence cemetery, davison county jail, utilities technology and power line program, news, crime, milbankMore from around the web