Jesus Antonio Montemayor passed away on October 26, 2022 at the age of 87 surrounded by those who loved him.
Jesus was born to his parents Jose and Maria Montemayor on January 1935 into a humble, poor household in the small town of Marin, Mexico in the state of Nuevo Leon. Although he lacked many luxuries and the usual trappings of this Earth, Jesus was embraced by the unconditional love and support of his parents and family. It was this simple, yet challenging, upbringing that propelled his desire to aspire to more and that instilled the value of hard work, humility, and integrity in everything he would do in his life.
Ultimately, Jesus would meet the love of his life – Maria Narcissa - and spend the next 67 years tethered in holy matrimony to the woman he would later call his “jewel”. Together, they raised Joseph, Jesus Alfredo and Nancy Ann who would go on to become first generation college graduates and have children of their own; Jessica, Amanda, Jacob, Mathew, Hannah, Alexis, Maria Isabel, and Jesus Jr.
Dad had a work ethic like no other. Every day, for decades, he would wake up a 5am, have breakfast at 5:30, and faithfully arrive on time for his shift working as a UAW machinist by 7:00am; fully shaven, smelling like morning dew, and ready to tackle another day full of unknowns. Making an honest living sometimes entailed broken feet, other times lacerated appendages and the ever present pain of varicose veins instigated by hour upon hour of standing on his feet in sweltering heat absorbing noxious lead gases. As formidable as this work environment was for him, he never ceased to be thankful for an opportunity to make a living, and for the income – albeit exceedingly low – that afforded him the opportunity to provide for his family with dignity and respect. Between him and his wife he was able to take his meager earnings and build a life that that he could only dream of growing up on the dusty, unpaved roads of Marin; together they truly heeded the call of our God to be fruitful and multiply.
Jesus was a selfless man who would time and again sacrifice his own desires, aspirations, and goals for the sake of assuring his children would not be a “donkey” like himself; a self-imposed pejorative our father would often use due to this perception that his lack of an education made his contributions less valuable; but, nothing could be further from the truth. He was our linchpin and our compass. He kept us grounded whenever we needed it and he would often provide his sage tutelage that only a lifetime of experience could possibly forge. His brilliance was not rooted in books or the usual academic pathways we all are accustomed to, but in the varied and painful lessons a life well lived imposed on him. He was fiercely loyal, never coveted what others had, and had compassion for those that could not find their way through the world or, at least, be at peace with it.
Jesus will be missed dearly by everyone that knew him. Although our hearts are broken and a searing emptiness now resides where he had once taken root in our souls, we lean on the words of our God in this difficult time: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord (1 Thess; 4:17).”