“Every day is a great day!” That was how Monty Dale Gearner approached his 68 years of life, and his 7 month battle with brain cancer (GBM) was no different. Even with the weight of limited time, Monty saw good in every day. He finished his brave fight and went home peacefully to be with the Lord on July 17, 2018, surrounded by loved ones.

Monty, of Italy, TX, is survived by his wife of 42 years Judy (Wright); daughters Amber (Ryan) Krier of Haslet, TX and Casey (John) Zenkovich of Leander, TX ; grandchildren Nathan, Andrew, and Elizabeth Perkins, Kendall and John Grady Zenkovich, Ryleigh and Makena Krier; brother Wayne (Carol) Gearner of Desoto, TX; and sister Gailya Gearner of Winnsboro, TX.

Born on September 1, 1949 in Winnsboro, TX he was the son of Rue Marie Gearner and Elmer Lee Gearner who preceded him in death. Monty graduated from Winnsboro High School and received his B.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Texas A & M in 1971. Shortly after moving to Eastland TX, Monty met his bride-to-be on a blind date in 1976. They were married 2 months later and celebrated 42 years on July 3rd, 2018. Monty spent 37 years in service to the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service retiring in 2011.

Friends and family could count on Monty for detailed conversations, never forgetting a name or a date, diagnosing any plant disease, maintaining a beautiful backyard garden, making the right call on the football field and never being too busy to help anyone.

With 7 kids calling him Pawpaw, Monty loved hiking the mountains of Wyoming, visiting (successfully!) his favorite fishing holes in Wood and Ellis Counties, attending football, volleyball, and baseball games, dance and cheer competitions, track meets, confirmations, birthdays and school events of all kinds. He was there for them, and they were there for him. In his final days, the arms that he played catch with as children, were the very arms that carried him to his bed for the last time.

Monty was well-respected by his fellow Ellis County Master Gardeners, football officiating crew members, his co-workers, fellow members at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie…and countless friends and family and his much-loved dog Millie. He was honored in May at the 2018 Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in Waco as a Special Contributor to the Game following his 46th season of officiating Texas High School Football.

A Celebration of Monty’s life will be held at 2:00PM at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 301 W. Hwy 287 Bypass, Waxahachie on Monday, July 23rd. In lieu of flowers, the family would love to have donations provided to the Ellis County Master Gardeners for a Scholarship Fund or to Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice. Monty loved his Master Gardener family and enjoyed sharing his favorite hobby with each of them. A special thank you to the amazing people at Cedar Lake Hospice for their loving care, comforting words and graceful presence in Monty’s final day…they were angels on earth.

Ellis County Master Gardeners

c/o Monty Gearner Scholarships

701 South I-35E, Suite 3

Waxahachie, TX 75165-4702

Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice

P.O. Box 2025

Malakoff, TX 75148