Unsung Hero, RIP

Apr 11, 2014

An ND legend died this week...

People unfamiliar with Notre Dame may be surprised that a custodian is among the two dozen dignateries featured on the Wall of Honor in its iconic Main Building.

I saw Mr. Montague hundreds of times while he was working in the Main Building.  I never saw him without a big smile.  He was responsible for every single part of the Main Building being a showplace.  Not long before he retired, USA TODAY surveyed the country to find the “cleanest restrooms in America”.  The Main Building won. 

Curry C.L. Montague, who served as the principal custodian of the University of Notre Dame’s Main Building for some 30 years, died April 7 (Monday) at Sanctuary at Holy Cross in South Bend. He was 81.

Born Nov. 9, 1932, in Houlka, Miss., Montague moved to South Bend in 1947.

For almost 30 years until his retirement in 2000, Montague worked at Notre Dame in the University’s Main Building, a period which included a two-year restoration project completed in 1999. Over those years, Montague’s unique devotion to his work, his kindness to fellow staff members and the hospitable welcome he extended to all Main Building visitors attracted the attention, affection and admiration of the entire Notre Dame community.

“In a sense,” said Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president emeritus, “he was almost an icon of the building itself. His enthusiasm and upbeat perspective were shown continuously.”

In 2004, Montague’s name was added to Notre Dame’s Wall of Honor, a display on the Main Building’s ground floor recognizing “exceptional men and women whose contributions to Notre Dame are lasting, pervasive and profound.” According to his citation, one of 27 on the wall, Montague “provided the Notre Dame community and its guests with a congenial, memorable and inspiring example of how hard work, devoted service and charity transform duty into joy.”


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