Heartfelt tribute to Lismore man killed in motorbike crash
UPDATE 1.40pm: READERS of The Northern Star have shared touching words about the late William "Monty" Montague-Elliott, who was killed in a motorcycle crash on the Bruxner Hwy at Alstonville.
Following this morning's story, The Northern Star's Facebook page has been flooded with tributes to the "rock" of Lismore.
"R.I.P Monty my condolences to the family, he was a wonderful man. Lismore TAFE will miss a very talented councillor, he saved many soles and everybody knew him liked him. I'm going to miss your smile and your jokes, he loved his family so much you could hear the love when he talked about each member of his family :-)
It was an pleasure to know you," Lavinia Lloyd said.
"So sad to hear this. Monty was a lovely guy. He use to come in to the bakery at Goonellabah when i worked there sometimes just to have a chat. Rip mate," Megan L McQuilty said.
"Still in my thoughts, always had the biggest of bear hugs for me every time we passed in the street. (Love) to you all," Sonja Cottam said.
"I have many fond memories of Monty. A gorgeous man. My thoughts are with Sharon and her family at this time. RIP Monty ❤❤," Tracey Anne said.
"Not Monty, he was such a lovely guy so sad thoughts are with his loved ones, RIP," Nat M Higgins said.
"Aww no. I am so sorry. He was a very sweet man," Harley Nelson said.
FRIDAY 6am: "HE WAS the counsellor, he was the career adviser, he was the rock of Lismore."
Last Friday, Sharon Brodie lost more than her husband - the community lost a "rock" in William "Monty" Montague-Elliott.
Monty was killed in a motorcycle crash on the Bruxner Hwy at Alstonville.
"I thought he was my rock but clearly I was wrong. Everybody talks about him being their rock," Sharon said.
As a proud Wiradjuri man, Monty was heavily involved in his community including as a dedicated counsellor and as a passionate Bikers Against Child Abuse member.
Sharon and Monty moved to Goonellabah 18 years ago to raise their children Morgan, 19, and D, 17.
Monty also has an older son, William Montague-Elliott, from a previous marriage. He lives in Nerang with his wife, Kim and two sons Jack and Oscar.
"He was a great dad, he was an amazing partner and I was so blessed to have him in my life," Sharon said.
Calling his kids by their indigenous names was one of many ways Monty integrated his traditional culture into family life.
D remembered her dad calling her by her indigenous name Dhundhu, meaning black swan - his favourite animal.
Harnessing Monty's favourite animal, close friend and artist Rebekka Cottam used the power of art to honour her dear friend.
"The idea of the drawing is that the swan is Monty's soul being released from the hatred and harshness of the human world and into the freedom of the open sky," Ms Cottam said.
Created within 24 hours of Monty's sudden death, Sharon said the artwork served as a comfort.
"The colours, the life, the hope that the picture offered me - that there is still a future and a sense of peace that Monty is free now," she said.
The drawing also symbolised a cherished aspect of Sharon's late husband not well known to the community - his passion for painting.
Sharon hopes the family can one day showcase some of Monty's many paintings in an art exhibition celebrating his life.
Since Monty's death, the family has felt the support of friends and family and the broader community.
"I'd like to say 'thank you' and I'd like people to continue to support BACA when they can, in memory of him," Sharon said.
Reflecting on 28 years of marriage, Sharon revealed it wasn't love at first sight when the couple first met in the army reserve, about 30 years ago.
An arduous 12km march bound the pair in love when Monty helped Sharon complete the treacherous stretch by carrying her gear as well as that of another struggling soldier.
"He was marching with his own gear and my gear and another person's gear and I fell in love with that man," Sharon said.
"That's who Monty was. He'd help to carry your load and you could tell him your story and he would hear it and he would offer his wisdom and his advice and it would make the rest of the journey much easier."
Using their wedding vows to describe their marriage, Sharon said the pair worked like pillars who "stand alone and strong together".
"We had the shared vision of our little family, we had our shared vision of raising our two kids and giving them everything they could want."
Monty's funeral will be held at the Gummifera Gardens in Goonellabah on Wednesday, November 30, at 9.30am.
The family have asked people not to send flowers. Instead, a donation box for BACA will be at the service.