Beaverton Historical Society
Gladwin County Obituary/Death Notice
Clay Arnce

Local artist Richard Montanbault passes
following slip and fall accident

   GLADWIN COUNTY — Popular local artist and friend to many in the county Richard Montanbault died last week as the result of a slip and fall accident in the parking lot of a local business.

   Richard Montanbault was a member of the community for many years and has played many different roles.

   Richard, born on Feb. 16, 1935 in Detroit, was an artist. He spent his career designing displays for trade shows and museums.

   He was also a historian. He was the curator of the “country store” cabin at the Gladwin County Historical Society – he turned it into an authentic trading post, probably similar to what Marvel Secord would have found along the rivers of northern Michigan. Richard was an “Indian.” He made the heritage and traditions of the Native Americans come alive with his collection of stories, artifacts and his own handiworks.

   He often dressed in the tradition of the plains indians, but he always brought members of local tribes for events at the Historical Society and encouraged them to tell the stories and teach the traditions of the Chippewa and other area tribes.

   Richard was an educator. He was one of the most popular stops at the annual History Day at the Beaverton Library, and never missed a chance to make children aware of art and of history. He believed strongly that children must be able to touch history and live history for it to be real. He insisted upon “hands-on” as the most effective way to reach and to teach children.

   Richard was an environmentalist. His love of nature and the importance he placed upon the wise use and protection of the environment was always apparent.

   Among his most common laments was the waste and destruction brought upon this continent by “civilized” society. Richard was passionate. He had an opinion on almost every topic, and he could be counted upon to share his opinions with passion and commitment.

   “The loss of Richard Montanbault is certainly a profound loss for our community,” said Bob Frei, friend and member of the Beaverton Historical Society and the Gladwin County Historical Society. “That we had him for a time as a fellow worker in building our community will always be a blessing.”

   Richard held membership in the Gladwin County Historical Society, the Beaverton Historical Society, Gladwin Artist's Guild and the morning coffee klatch at Delena's Restaurant in Beaverton.

   He taught art classes from his home and studio on Glidden Road right next to the bridge in Beaverton.

   When he believed in what he was doing, no amount of time or energy was ever spared. He organized the opening day festivities for the past two years at the Historical Village in Gladwin; he helped with the Carriage Festival, the Beaverton Historical displays and many other activities in the county, said Frei.

   “He maintained a private museum in his home, and always invited strangers to visit. Nobody stayed a stranger for long,” he said.

   Montanbault passed away Friday, Dec. 21 at 1:45 a.m. at MidMichigan Medical Center- Midland as a result of non recoverable injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident Tuesday, Dec 11, said his nephew, Jerry Montanbault.

   “He was surrounded by his family and many friends during his remaining time,” said Jerry Montanbault.

   A funeral will take place at UHT Funeral Home in Westland, Michigan, 35400 Glenwood. A showing is slated for Wednesday and Thursday from 3-8 p.m. The funeral will be Friday, Dec. 28, 2007 at 10 p.m. Call 734-721-8555 or visit for more information.

Personal Information
Death Date
Burial/Final Location
Highland Cemetery, Gladwin, MI
Publication Information
Pub. Date
Pub. Page
Gladwin County Record, Gladwin, MI
P:A2 C:?
Transcription Information
Transcribed by
Source Media
September 2009
Bob Frei
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Posted by Bob Frei with the assistance of Jeff Naugle