Queensbury lost two great men who gave a lot to their communities this week. One was a name well-known to readers of this paper, the other worked in the background but was an integral part of the local fire service for more than six (yes, six!) decades.
If you read our obituary sections, you know that former Queensbury Supervisor Ron Montesi passed away earlier this week. We wrote about his impact in the political and government realms, but Ron was much more than that.
He built a thriving business in North Country Janitorial, and then spent a number of years working for the state Department of Environmental Conservation between stints of service to the town and Warren County.
When many people Ron's age and place in life would have been retiring and heading to Florida, but he was still working hard as the DEC's special assistant to the commissioner on Adirondack affairs. That entailed a lot of time, travel and effort, but that didn't stop him. And after that, well into his 70s, he returned to politics and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, serving as the point man on a number of big projects and issues.
And his obituary listed 10 different charitable organizations to which he donated his time.
As others said in our earlier article, Ron was always smiling, happy and upbeat. He truly was a man who brought people together, as evidenced by serving as a peacemaker of sorts when elected officials in Glens Falls and Queensbury feuded over watershed property years ago and his efforts helping iron out a disagreement over construction on French Mountain before that.
Elected officials and politicians get a bad rap these days, but Ron was one of many who serve the public for the right reasons.
Chet "C.P" South, who like Montesi served as a Queensbury at-large county supervisor for a number of years, spent 66 years of his life as a member of the Queensbury Central Fire Department, holding virtually every leadership position in the fire company at one point. He was the department's chaplain in recent years, but served as a line officer and on the board of directors as well.
"He was a guy who always wanted to help people," said Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure.
We live in a day-and-age where most people seem too busy, or unwilling, to serve their communities, but Montesi and South set the gold standard around here for decades.
Funeral services for Montesi are to be held Saturday, while arrangements for South have not yet been released.
-- Don Lehman