Russell Thompson Montfort

November 15, 2022

          Russell Thompson Montfort died on November 15,2022 at Aldersgate Retirement Community in Charlotte, NC. He was born on July 25,1928 to the late Arthur Garfield Montfort and Marie Turner Montfort. He grew up on a farm in LaGrange, KY before attending Kentucky Wesleyan College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and Duke Divinity School where he received a B.D. (now M.Div.) in 1953. Ten years later he returned to Duke Divinity School where he earned a Th.M. Davidson College conferred an honorary doctorate on him in 1961 and Kentucky Wesleyan named him Outstanding Alumnus in 2012.

          Rev. Montfort enjoyed a 44-year career as a pastor in the United Methodist Church serving parishes in the Western North Carolina Conference including churches in Thomasville, Davidson, High Point, Winston-Salem, Charlotte (Dilworth UMC) and Greensboro. In addition, he served 3 years at the American Protestant Church in Bonn (then the capital of West Germany). He retired from full-time ministry in 1994 after serving as senior pastor of West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN for 14 years. During his retirement, he twice took positions as interim pastor at churches in High Point and Huntersville, taught part-time at Pfeiffer University and travelled for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in the former Soviet Union republics of Lithuania and Latvia identifying former Methodist properties and locating former Methodists to reinvigorate pre-Soviet churches. In addition, he co-authored a book of devotions for men and two collections of humorous reflections on humans’ relationships with God.

          In his free time, Rev. Montfort was committed to helping those who needed an advocate. While pastor of Dilworth UMC, he was chairman of the founding board of trustees for The Relatives Youth Crisis Center. In retirement, he volunteered as a Child Custody Advocate for The Children’s Law Center (now the Council for Children’s Rights) and, with his wife Ruth, founded the Joy Community, a gathering of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Providence United Methodist Church.

          In addition to his parents, Rev. Montfort was predeceased by his brothers Scott and Paul Montfort and his niece, Carol Montfort. His wife of 68 years, Ruth Nance Montfort, died earlier this year. He is survived by his son, Joel Montfort; his daughter Leslie Marsicano and her husband Michael Marsicano all of Charlotte, NC. Also surviving are grandchildren: Christopher Marsicano and his wife, Michele of Davidson, NC; Jamie Marsicano of Carrboro, NC; David Marsicano of Memphis, TN and great-granddaughter Grace Marie Marsicano of Davidson, NC.

          A service of death and resurrection will be held at Providence United Methodist Church (2810 Providence Road) at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, 2022. The family will receive friends in the atrium following the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends consider donating to The Relatives Youth Crisis Center, 2219 Freedom Drive, Charlotte, NC 28208 or UMAR (a non-profit serving adults with intellectual disabilities) at 5350 77 Center Drive, Suite 201, Charlotte, NC 28217.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204 (704)641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Laura & Ward Wellman

    Dear Leslie,
    We are beyond sad to learn of your dad’s passing - this has been such a difficult period for you all. How incredibly proud he was of you and your family… Fond memories of both your mom and dad are with us.
    Love, Laura & Ward

  • Mary Frances Melink

    We were all so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. What a mark he made in this world. He now is joined in heaven and is with you mother.
    Our deepest condolences,
    Mary Frances Marsicano and family

  • Sam and Pam Tesh

    Leslie, we are so sorry. Prayers for you and your family.

  • Kim Lanphear

    I remember his smile and abundant kindness to me and my family. It was a blessing to know him. Deepest sympathies.