Patricia Anne Fowler Montross was born to Ray and Jean Fowler March 5, 1920, in Grinnell, Iowa. At an early age Pat’s family moved to Boone, Iowa, where her father managed the Boone Dairy and her aunts and uncles on her mother’s side ran a bakery, a restaurant and the Princess Theater. Being surrounded by family Pat learned at an early age the value of family and gathering the family every week for meals, games and discussions,
In the 1930s her father decided to move the family to Winterset to start the Spring Valley Creamery. It is fair to say her love affair with Winterset had a slow start, but it blossomed into a huge love through the years.
In 1937 Pat started dating George Montross. They fell madly in love. She went to Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Mo., in 1938 and he was far away in Grinnell, Iowa. In 1939 they were married and moved back to Winterset when George’s father fell ill and he needed George to take over the business. This was the start of a wonderful business for George and Pat, Montross Pharmacy.
Pat’s first business venture was in 1944 when George left for the Navy and they had just moved into the “big house” on Court Street. She rented out rooms to school teachers.
At about the same time she started another business. She needed furniture to fill the house, so she started buying and selling furniture to dealers. Some of the furniture is still in the house today.
Because of Pat’s interest in antiques she was active in starting an antique club in Winterset. To this day it remains a successful group that studies antiques and has grown many a great friendship. She belonged to that group for over 30 years.
Pat tried to save the Arcade Hotel where George Washington Carver had lived, but alas, all her efforts and others could not save it.
Pat’s next project was to start a multi-purpose building in town. Finding the right building was the key and her father’s old creamery was perfect. She worked with the 60+ group at this location for about 30 years. She gave hundreds of older folks a lot of happiness by serving meals and playing games each week with them.
Among other projects for Pat was in 1989 she and George traveled with the Friendship Force to Russia and they helped a three-year-old girl with heart problems get a saving operation by being flown to Des Moines, Iowa for surgery. She and George were instrumental in saving the Rex Martin gas station and having it moved to the Historical grounds. Pat also had the little Victorian building in the Winterset Cemetery restored, and she continually contributed items to the Historical Society, and quilts to the Quilt Museum in downtown Winterset.
In the year 2000 Pat received “Citizen of the Year” from the city of Winterset.
As well as being considered great citizens, Pat and George were incredible parents. They were always planning projects, vacations, nightly games outdoors, had a family garden and just loved to have fun with their family. They also believed in raising children that knew how to work and knew right from wrong. Pat was a Brownie leader, Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher and anything she could do to get involved, she was there.
Pat passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at the Winterset Care Center North.
Pat was preceded in death by her mother and father, Ray and Jean Fowler; her husband, George Montross; and her sister, Beverly Klingman.
Pat was beloved by all that met her. She leaves five children, Michael Montross, Kaye Hart, Raye Zeigler, Pam LaShelle and Becky Halligan. She also leaves 12 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. Pat also leaves her loving and devoted caretaker, Jean Saf.
Services are Friday, July 12, 10 a.m. at Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home (1823 N. John Wayne Dr.) with a graveside service following at the Winterset Cemetery. Visitation is at Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home on Thursday, July 11, 5:30-7 p.m.
Memorials can be made to EveryStep Hospice.
Arrangements are being handled by Caldwell-Parrish Funeral Home, Winterset Chapel. Online condolences may be left at www.caldwellparrish.com.