BELMONT, MS – James Robert Montgomery, 69, passed away Monday, August 30, 2021 in Tishomingo County, MS. He was born in Booneville, MS. Robert was lovingly raised with his sister, Wanda in Belmont, MS by their grandmother, Evelyn Montgomery.
In school, Robert excelled in sports as a member of the basketball, football and baseball teams. In college he participated in tennis. He was always most proud of the punt, pass and kick award he won in high school. His true passion early in life came when he purchased a set of drums and formed his first band with school mates Mickey Campbell, Duane Mann and Robert Moody, called the 4 M’s. He had a loft in his grandmother’s garage that was his practice space for all of Belmont to hear. It was there that he developed his love for being different and outside of the norm.
Upon graduation from Belmont High School, Robert enlisted in the Navy. He went to New London, CT where is studied and earned a spot on the crew of the nuclear submarine USS Silversides. After one tour, Robert retuned to Mississippi and enrolled at Northeast Community College as an art major. As a student, Robert became well known for his paintings and sold everything he painted. During this time, Robert started the band The Juby John’s and band members wore their signature high top tennis shoes. Robert was not only a consummate musician, but a savvy business person. With original band members Joe Watford, Terry Barnes and Mike McIntyre, the group cut albums and negotiated local radio play including a weekly Juby hour. Robert toured the US with this group and also played with zydeco artist Zachery Richard. In the early 2000’s, Robert resurrected the Juby Johns and played once again with great success.
During his lifetime, Robert wrote and recorded 6 albums. He was a consummate creative and hard driving business person. He loved old movies, jotting down catchy phrases that he would later work into his songs. After watching a movie about George Gershwin, he noted that George said that one of his goals was to put music to the Gettysburg address. Robert set that as a personal goal and achieved it, taking great pride in that work.
Robert had huge capacity for love of friends and family, as well as many adopted pets. He leaves behind his mother, Lydia Miller, sister, Dawn Ortiz, brother, Michael Miller, brother-in-law, Fred McArthur and niece, Cheryl Fluhr. Family members who have passed include father, Edward Montgomery, beloved grandmother, Evelyn “Mamaw” Montgomery and sister, Wanda Montgomery McArthur.
A joint memorial service with his sister, Wanda Montgomery McArthur will be Monday, June 6, 3 p.m. at Allen Chapel Church, Dennis, MS with Bro. Jackie Hastings officiating. Deaton Funeral Home, Belmont, MS will be in charge of arrangements.