Royal Bruce ‘Grumpa’ Montgomery, 78

Conked out betwixt projects. So it goes…

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 2:00pm

Royal Bruce Montgomery was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Aug. 5, 1939 and died on July 5, 2018. In the time between, he lived a life devoted to his wife, his family, and his relentless dedication to satisfying his insatiable creative spirit. Becoming an Eagle Scout at 15, and tapped for the Order of the Arrow were early indications of the accomplishments to come.

He graduated from Brown in 1961, and shortly thereafter began what would prove to be a highly-decorated career in advertising at Lennin and Newell, eventually retiring in 1987 as a Creative Director and board member at McCaffrey and McCall. In addition to his two Clios, he was most proud of his contributions to the ‘Unsell the War’ campaign in the early 70s, ‘Hide-a-Case’ for Canadian Club and the iconic Santa commercials and the ‘Gotcha’ campaign for Norelco. 

On May 19, 1962, Bruce married Margaret Rose Cassidy of Darien, Conn. Peggy, as she was affectionately known, was everything to Bruce: his best friend, soul mate, partner, and mother of their three children: Royal Bruce Montgomery Jr., Gilbert Brock Montgomery, and Brett Ann Montgomery. Bruce and Peggy celebrated their 56th year of marriage shortly before his death.

After moving his family to New Canaan, Conn., in 1967, Bruce turned his love of theater and set design into his own children’s theater troupe called The Multi-Colored Balloon. In his studio above his garage he painted, sketched, sculpted and experimented, drawing inspiration from his admiration for Picasso, as well as artists of the Pop Art movement. Over time, Bruce started his own agency, created a line of greeting cards, and gave generously to a number of causes. Some of which were simply people who needed a little help.

In 1975, Bruce purchased his first home on Block Island, a place he fell in love with in 1968. He walked the beaches and turned the things he found into art. He began doing pen and inks of the island birds and bugs, and began drawing a cartoon for the paper in 1996, which ranged from poking fun at the tourists, to harpooning the town hall. In 1999, Bruce bought The Block Island Times and as publisher and chief cartoonist, he continued to report on the place he loved. His opinions weren’t always popular, but they were always from his heart. 

Bruce was an avid bird watcher, nature lover and canoeist, something that dates back to his childhood with summers at Lake of Bays in Ontario, Canada, and continued his entire life. He visited his home at LOB for the last time just weeks before his death.

Bruce was also a basketball enthusiast, playing into his 50s and a lifelong Celtics fan. His competitive spirit was tempered only by a sense of fairness, summed up in one of his favorite quotes by Grantland Rice: “When the Great Score Keeper comes to write your name, he asks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.”

Grumpa is survived by the love of his life, who was at his side at passing. He is also survived by his children, daughters-in-law Rebecca Boynton and Kelly Greene, and seven grandchildren RBM III (Trey), Egan, Collin, Max, Hannah, Liza and Lily, as well as his brother Andrew and sister Clare. He was preceded in death by his sister Diane and parents Roy and Maxine. In lieu of flowers, Bruce would suggest you donate to the Medical Center or the Block Island Free Library. (Grumpa, of course, would suggest you donate to something that makes you happy, rather than the thing that might kill you.)