DFD Lieutenant Rich Montoya’s accident happened on Mother’s Day 2006‚ just two hours from the end of his shift‚ and fifteen shifts from the beginning of his retirement. Rich’s crew had responded to a house fire that involved a candle and nail polish remover. The fumes from the nail polish had ignited and spread to a tapestry that was placed above the headboard of a bed. There were three lives saved that day‚ and one was lost.
Rich became a firefighter in 1976 at the age of 31‚ and married his wife‚ Louise. They were married for 32 years. Rich also raised two stepchildren from the ages of two and four. Eric‚ his son‚ followed in his footsteps and is also a Denver firefighter. Marti‚ his daughter‚ is an elementary public school teacher in Denver.
In 1982‚ Rich was promoted to Engineer‚ which he loved. He always stated‚ ‘I should have stayed an Engineer– it’s the best job!’ But he wanted to further his career. He became a Lieutenant in 1995. Throughout Rich’s career with the Denver Fire Department‚ he received various unit citations‚ one of which was awarded on the same day that Eric received one.
Rich was born in Roy‚ New Mexico‚ and was raised in southwest Colorado in the humble home of a coalminer father and his mother‚ who fronted most of the load of raising nine other siblings. Rich was Valedictorian at Trinidad High School‚ went to college‚ and learned a trade to become a master carpenter. He was always delighted to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He served two tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy as a Sea Bee and was honorably discharged. Rich was a loving husband‚ father‚ grandfather‚ and brother.
Rich loved to spend time with his grandchildren. He often woke up early on his days off so he could be at their home to make them breakfast and see them off to school. Rich spent his free time playing golf‚ senior baseball‚ plus spending time with his family. Rich lived simply‚ loved generously‚ cared deeply‚ and we will miss him greatly!!