Tuesday, March 4, 2014

William Robert Monday, BHS 1943

William Robert Monday, BHS 1943 May 25, 1925 - January 9, 2014 William Robert Monday was born May 25, 1925, in Long Beach, California, to William Alonzo Monday and Mabel Frazier Monday. He spent his early childhood in the Long Beach area among his father's extended family. During the 1930s he lived in Cody, Wyoming, where his father operated a charter flying business. As a youngster and teenager, he spent many satisfying days at the hangers and airstrip there, absorbing information about aviation mechanics and also learning to fly. He and his father shared a long-running prank: people would pay a small fee to go aloft in his dad's airplane (an uncommon treat in those days). Once airborne, his dad would turn the yoke over to his son and stroll back into the cabin among the passengers, much to their dismay, while young Billy flew the plane alone. Just before World War II, the family returned to southern California and Monday graduated from Burbank High School in May of 1943. He immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was shipped to the Solomon Islands as part of the Navy's Construction Battalion (Seabees). He spent the duration of the war in the South Pacific as a heavy equipment operator, helping to construct airfields and roads on a succession of islands after each had been captured by the U.S. Marines. After an honorable discharge, Monday moved back to the Cody area, again working and spending time at the airstrip, and this time earning a real pilot's license. In the fall he enrolled in the first-ever class of the new Casper Junior College and enjoyed the distinction of helping select the fledgling institution's colors, mascot, and song. In 1947 Challenger Airlines (which later became Frontier Airlines) hired him as its station agent for Billings, Montana. He subsequently worked for them in Farmington, New Mexico, and Worland, Wyoming. In Worland he met Carolina "Dimmie" Pendergraft and they were married in 1952. In short succession, he was transferred to Flagstaff, Arizona, and then accepted a management position with Frontier Airlines at its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. He and Carolina reared their family of seven children in the Denver area from the 1950s through the 1970s. They were later divorced. Monday spent his entire career at Frontier Airlines. He was a self-made businessman, applying his characteristic intelligence, determination, and common sense to achieve efficiency in the many tasks assigned to him. During the 1960s he took night classes in computer operations to stay abreast of the new technology for managing business data and also attended Dale Carnegie classes in human relations. He was the manager of Frontier's reservations department for many years. Later he became Director of Computer Services and later still Director of Customer Services, a division of about 1000 personnel that encompassed reservations, flight attendants, dining services, and lost and found. In December 1976 Monday married Barbara G. Smith of Denver, Colorado. They honeymooned on Maui and thus began a joyous 37-year partnership that included annual returns to their favorite Hawaiian island. Together they travelled the world with memorable adventures and misadventures in Africa, Alaska, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Estonia, Europe, Finland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Russia, Spain, and Sweden—but somehow always missing South America. After 38 years of service, Monday retired from Frontier Airlines in 1985. He later became involved with the Frontier Airlines picnic committee (which was started after Frontier's bankruptcy in 1986), helping to plan, facilitate—and enjoy—the annual reunions of former employees, which continue to this day. A highlight of his later years was the induction of his father, William A. Monday, into the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. Monday presided over the ceremony, giving an entertaining and informative presentation about his father's contributions to early aviation, with emphasis on Wyoming.
Monday was a person of uncommon integrity. He lived by an inner code of honesty, generosity, and loyalty, which he believed could be measured by looking directly at "the guy in the glass" each day and asking if one had done the right thing. He was rigid with himself in that regard and held those around him to the same standard. But he had a ready and dry sense of humor and delighted in gently teasing friends and strangers alike. His sparkling eyes and smile gave away his true intentions every time. Monday was an avid fisherman, enjoying numerous trips by foot, wheels, and wings to destinations in Colorado, Wyoming, the Great Lakes, and Canada. He was a student of history and a lay expert on the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He devoured books and enjoyed recommending and discussing them with his friends and family. Crossword puzzles were a favorite entertainment, and he relished crunching numbers so much that his household budgeting—to the penny—became a family legend. He could fix just about anything, and he taught his children and grandchildren to adjust carburetors, clean trout, mow lawns, build and fly model airplanes, and hang drywall. He was preceded in death by his father William A. Monday (1974), stepmother Joan B. Monday (1989), and daughter Jinine C. Monday (1986). He is survived by his wife, Barbara G. Monday; four daughters: Jacquelyn L. Monday (Robert R. Cox) of Grand Junction, Colorado; JoAnne A. Monday (Daniel H. Daneff) of Parker, Colorado; Jan Monday (Steven D. Winans) of Tensleep, Wyoming; Jeanne S. Lockard (Daniel E.) of Worland, Wyoming; and two sons, William A. Monday (Carolyn B.) of Parker, Colorado; and Thomas R. Monday (Kristine L.) of Glade Park, Colorado. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: R. Galen Cox, Jennifer D. Monday, Neil P. Lockard, Tyler J. Lockard (Molly), Erin R. Lockard, Kelli K. Lockard, and Joshua W. Monday. His favorite saying, passed along repeatedly to his children and grandchildren, was "Don't forget to smell the roses." A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday April 12, 2014 at 1:00 in the afternoon at Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 11150 E. Dartmouth Avenue in Aurora. Memorial contributions in Bill's honor are suggested to either the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame, 1000 E. University Avenue, Dept. 3924, Laramie, WY 82071 or Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY 82414.

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