Shawn Thomas Montee, 50
On Dec. 19, 2018, the Montee family lost their beloved husband and father, Shawn Montee Sr.
?Shawn Thomas Montee was born on June 24, 1968, in Everett, Wash. While growing up, he spent some time in Missouri before moving to North Idaho. Being the independent young man that he was, Shawn left home at the age of 16, determined to make it on his own. One of his first jobs involved laying irrigation pipe in Post Falls, Idaho. Little did he know, this was the first step in his decades-long endeavor to demonstrate how our efforts in work and in life can create a legacy far greater than we imagined.
?As a young man Shawn possessed a strong sense of adventure, a daringness to take chances and a fearless approach to life. Still a teenager, he set out on a motorcycle trip to California with his friends, proving to himself that freedom was his for the taking. Everything changed in 1986 when Shawn saw a charming young lady at a football game and confidently told his friends, “I’m going to marry that girl.” Due to Shawn’s persistence, he and Heather Kinder Montee were inseparable ever since that day.
Shawn began preparing for the future. In the spring of 1988 he graduated from the Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., with a technical degree in diesel mechanics, but would soon take his skillset in a new direction — the timber industry.
Shawn started logging in Kake, Alaska in 1988. Then he moved back to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to work as a logger for a local company, and then later worked for a logging/construction company in Bellingham, Wash. But no one’s story is perfect. While on the job in the fall of 1989, at the age of 21, Shawn’s body was crushed by the bed of a dump truck. He endured a severed aorta, kidney and respiratory failure, and was temporarily paralyzed. The doctors said if he survived, he may never walk, have children or function normally ever again. Over several months in the hospital, Shawn fought hard to live and to walk again, proving everyone wrong and proving his own tenacity and determination.
1990 would bring several changes for the Montee family. Even after the doctors recommended a new occupation, Shawn purchased a skidder and learned how to operate it, still without feeling in his legs. He decided to start his own company, Shawn Montee Timber Co. In May of 1990, Shawn and Heather were blessed with their first child, a baby girl named Brittney, and Shawn’s earlier prediction at the football game years prior finally became a reality when he and Heather were married on October 20th.
As Shawn and Heather began to build a life together, they welcomed four more children to their family: Kayla, Shawn Jr., Michael and Mariah. They say you can tell a lot about a family by the quality of their children. The Montee kids, now adults, are extraordinarily kind, generous and loyal, and are loved by all who have held the honor of their friendship. No family is complete without grandchildren, however, and Aveah, Ember, and Carter added a layer of joy to Shawn’s life he never knew possible. Additionally, Shawn’s oldest son, Joshua Curtis, became a part of Shawn’s life over the years.
Shawn was a smart businessman and possibly the hardest worker one would ever meet. Throughout his journey, he started several additional companies such as ABCO Wood Recycling, SM Development, NW Transport and Alpine Helicopters. He was never afraid to take a risk and think big. He was an undeniable workaholic and no detail was ever left unnoticed, but all of his efforts throughout his entire life were for the sole purpose of supporting and caring for his family.
The Montee family, in both meager times and times of prosperity, have always generously supported the community and those in need. Any time Shawn was asked to donate to a cause, his response was always a simple “Yes.” For many years, even before and after his own children played sports, there wasn’t a Park and Rec league without a team sponsored by Shawn Montee Timber Co. Although he never asked for recognition and many times required his donations be left anonymously, he gladly sponsored Kootenai County 4-H, the Audubon Society, Juniors Rodeo, Bryan Elementary, American Legion, Coeur d’Alene Chamber and the Kootenai County Fair and Rodeo, among many others.
His proudest accomplishment and highlight to his life was always his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. From the 4-wheeler trips to Grizzly Peak, where Shawn said he felt closest to God, to the bonfires where family and friends were always invited, to the fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling trips, to the simplest moments as a family, their memories will always remain. As recent empty-nesters, Shawn and Heather finally took the time for themselves to explore, travel, and embrace the delayed adventures they had been dreaming of. The family never missed an opportunity to laugh, to love and to embrace life together.
Thank you to all who have loved and supported the Montee family. Every life has its purpose and every life has its pain. For this simple reason, we all need each other ... and we all need hope ... and always love.
Shawn is survived by his wife Heather (Kinder) Montee; his children, Brittney (Rob), Kayla (Nathan), Shawn Jr., Michael, Mariah and Joshua; grandchildren, Aveah, Ember and Kyia Card and Carter Nesbitt; in-laws, William and Helen Kinder; brother in-law, Timothy Kinder; sister and brother in-law, Andrea (Kinder) and Mike Fulks; parents, John and Jenny Montee and siblings Crystal, Michelle and Charlie.
Services will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, at Real Life Ministries. 1860 N. Cecil Road, Post Falls. Reception to follow at CDA Best Western, 506 W. Appleway, Coeur d’Alene.