Dr. Barbara's Story
Dr. Barbara Venton Montgomery, 91, of Rockwall, Texas, passed away Oct. 25, 2017.
She was born Nov. 13, 1925, in St. Louis, Mo., to George and Lovinia (Crawford) Gilbreath.
Fulbright scholar, professor, author, judge, and activist, Dr. Montgomery spent her lifetime learning, teaching and serving her fellow citizens. In 1947, she graduated with honors from the University of Illinois, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. In 1961, she graduated with highest honors from California State University with a Master's Degree in History. In 1973, she graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in History, receiving a letter of commendation from the Dean of the Graduate School. Through the Fulbright Program, in 1985 she continued her scholarship in Israel and in 1994 was a Fulbright scholar in both Korea and China. She later spent two years, from 1999 to 2001, in Mediation Training at Eastfield Community College in Mesquite, Texas.
From 1958 to 1960, Barbara was coordinator of student activities and assistant to the dean of students at California State University in Northridge, Calif., and was a lecturer in history at Loyola University from 1966 to 1970. From 1994 to 2005, she taught at Trinity Valley Community College in Terrell, Texas, as adjunct professor of history. She was a respected professor of history at El Centro Community College in Dallas, Texas, from 1972 to 1997. While at the Dallas Community College District, she was the designer and author of the PBS series, "The American Story," which ran on television from 1976 to 1986. The series was broadcast to 29 countries. She was the course designer for The Bible as History, for Western Civilization 105 and Do the Americas have a Common Heritage in 1968.
Outside of the classroom Barbara enjoyed helping others and was a counselor for many years, especially working with those addicted to alcohol. She served on the Advisory Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse of the North Central Texas Council of Governments in 1986, the Dallas Juvenile Department "Restitution," the Rockwall County Committee on Aging from 2004 to 2006, and the Rockwall Housing Authority from 2004 to 2007.
Dr. Montgomery was active in many professional organizations, including the Dallas Council on World Affairs where she was elected Director from 1989 to 1999, Vice President from 1993 to 1995, and Advisory Board from 1995 to 2001. Other organizations include the Conference on Latin American Studies, Directory of American Scholars, Library of Congress on Latin America, Biblical Archaeology Society, Archaeological Institute of America, Texas Municipal Courts Association, Who's Who Among Scholars in American Community, Technical and Junior Colleges, Retired Teachers of Texas, and Dispute Mediation Center in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Montgomery served on the Mayor's Select Committee on Community Planning as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission in Heath, Texas. She was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in 1978. She served on the State Democratic Executive Committee from 1978 to 1982, and served as Rockwall County Democratic Chairman from 1980 to 1985, and 1992 to 1993. She also served as Good Will Ambassador to Mexico for the Texas Cultural Alliance in 1983, and was nominated by Congressman Ralph Hall to be Ambassador to Mexico in 1997. Barbara was a Charter Member of both the NAACP in Rockwall County and the Rockwall Historical Foundation, as well as a member of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Rockwall Rotary Club with exchange to Honduras, teaching English as a second language. She also served on the Rockwall Housing Authority. She served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Heath, Texas, from 1978 to 1988.
Barbara received recognition for her accomplishments numerous times. She was honored by the Texas House and Senate on March 6, 1995, and was presented with an official Texas Capitol flag. She was included in The World's Who's Who of Women for 1992-1993 and 1994-1995, The Who's Who of Women in the United States in 2000, 2002 and 2004, and Who's Who in America in 2005-2006. She received the National Teaching Excellence Award in 1989, which was presented by the Secretary of Education, the Miles Production Award for Teaching Excellence from the Dallas County Community College District in 1987, and the DCCCD Teacher of the Year award in 1987. She was a nominee to the First Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1985. Barbara received the Award for Historical Writing in 1976, from the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge. Rockwall County Business and Professional Women named her Woman of the Year in 1979.
Barbara's many publications include "History of El Centro Community College, Dallas County Community College District," 1983; Survival in Community College Teaching, a paper presented at American History Association and reprinted by the U.S. Information Service, 1975; "The Truth and Legend of Miguel Leonis, Committee to Preserve the History of Los Angeles," 1962, "Los Angeles Times; Municipal Court System in Israel and in the U.S. (Texas), Ministry of Education and Culture, Israel," 1980; "Paths of Peru," script for TV, 1987, produced 1990; "Women Short-Changed by History," published by Heritage Books, Inc., October 1998, reprinted by Heritage Books, Inc., 2004; "Wonderful "Wicked" Women of the World," published by Heritage Books, Inc. 2002, reprinted by Heritage Books, Inc., 2004; "Lovinia's Child, A Depression Tale," published by Heritage Books, Inc., Division of Willow Bend Books, 2005; and her dissertation, "The Evolution of Rural Justice in New Spain, Culminating in the Acordada, and Attempts by the Spanish Crown to Institute the Tribunal in Peru." Her most recent book was "JW & Me," published by Heritage Books, Inc.
Barbara is survived by one daughter, Carol Montgomery; one grandson, Adam Strong; and one great-granddaughter, Cierra Strong.
She was preceded in death by two daughters, Melinda Strong and Melody Law.
A Celebration of Life will be held 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 12, at Rest Haven Funeral Home-Rockwall Chapel, 2500 State Highway 66 East, Rockwall, TX 75087.
Published on November 1, 2017