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First Name: Clyde

Last Name: Monteith

Birthplace: Weiser, ID, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Allen

Date of Birth: 25 July 1922

Date of Death: 01 July 1992

Rank or Rate:

Years Served:
Clyde Allen Monteith

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Clyde Allen "Monte" Monteith
Quartermaster 1st Class, U. S. Navy
World War II

Clyde Allen Monteith was born on 25 July 1922 in Weiser, ID. During his early years, he lived in various towns in Idaho and Oregon.

On 29 March 1945, he married Elda Hatt in San Francisco, CA.

Military Service

Clyde joined the U. S. Navy on 13 August 1940, at age 18. During his 6 years in the Navy, he served mainly aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), which participated in almost every air battle in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. His rank was QM1, Quartermaster 1st Class. His position was at the helm of the ship.

Enterprise was one of the most heavily decorated ships in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Clyde's battle station during all of this history-making combat was at the wheel of the ship, in the pilot house, steering the ship. This special vantage point caused much of the danger and risk faced by the ship over those four years of war to be deeply impressed upon him, which contributed later in his life to his stress and nervousness.

Enterprise was the flagship of Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Fleet Commander, who was a good officer and very famous. Clyde was proud to have served with Admiral Halsey. In addition to seeing Admiral Halsey regularly, since Clyde was part of the navigation division aboard the ship, he had an additional duty of winding a number of designated clocks aboard the ship each day, including the clock in Admiral Halsey's cabin.

On one occasion, when Clyde approached the cabin to wind the clock, the armed Marine at the door refused to let him in. He explained why he had to go in, but the Marine still refused. Having done his best, Clyde left. Within a couple of hours, he was summoned to the Admiral's cabin. Upon entering the cabin, he was at first a little surprised to find Admiral Halsey, already a famous and powerful man, waiting in his underwear. The Admiral asked Clyde how he expected him to run a war in the Pacific if he didn't even know what time it was. Clyde explained that he tried to get in to wind the clock, but was unable to do so. The Admiral accepted the explanation and told him he would make sure that there was no further interference by the Marines, and there wasn't.

While he was aboard the Enterprise, Clyde saw a lot of death and destruction, including the deaths of a number of his shipmates. Sometime during the war he wrote the following poem about death:

I have looked upon the face of death
And found there naught to fear.
Perhaps 'tis but the fear of death
That makes our lives so dear.

Many times I have met with him
And seen him turn away
Each time, I admit, I have given thanks
To live another day.

But why? When often that extra day
Has turned to a living hell,
And I have wished that I, too, lay
With shipmates who sadly fell.

So often I've seen that gruesome shade
That defiantly i stand
I see him watch me come so close
Then turn from my outstretched hand.

I wonder what is in store for me
That death must pass me by
How long, how far, what place is marked
For my time and place to die.

Each day the sweet sun shines on me
I'll live it with a will
A measure of joy, a measure of love
The purpose of life fulfill.

But, soon or late the day must come
That the dreaded shadow fall
Across my path in the light of day
How will I heed the call?

So many must die while very young
And so few with dignity
I wonder how I shall meet with him,
When he shall call for me.

Clyde received his discharge from the Navy on 12 August 1946.

Post-Military Life

Two days after his discharge from the Navy, his first child, Richard Alan Monteith was born on 14 August 1946 in San Francisco, CA. A daughter, Becky Ann Monteith was born on 23 April 1949 in Rock Springs, WY and Keith Edward Monteith was born on 16 February 1952 in Portland, OR.

Clyde worked in the coal mines as a neon apprentice until 1950, in and around Rock Springs, WY. Those who worked with him were impressed with his precise and methodical way of working, and with his ability to read and commit to memory precise directions, including measurements down to small fractions of an inch. He was working once with Carl Rees Boyer, his wife's brother-in-law, and the two disagreed over a measurement of a particular part of what they were building. The disagreement continued until Clyde suggested that Rees go and check the plans. When he checked, he found, of course, that Clyde was right. Rees chuckled later as he retold the story as an example of Clyde's good memory for details.

Moving to Portland, OR in 1950, Clyde worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad for the next 22 years, retiring in 1972 because of stress that was built up during the war and never completely released.

At various times in his life, Clyde enjoyed camping, needlepoint, computerized strategic games, mountain climbing, travel, writing poetry and doing genealogical research.

Clyde gave many things to his children, including a desire for education, a love for genealogy, an ability to work precisely and diligently, and his constant loyalty and encouragement to do right. His love of poetry and writing were other gifts.

Clyde's own unquenchable loyalty was his gift to those he held dear. His closest friend all his life, and the only one who returned to him the kind of loyalty he offered, was his wife, Elda. During his last years, they traveled together, enjoying scenery in Mexico, Hawaii, British Columbia and the western United States, and visiting friends and family.

Clyde's health was not good during his final years. High blood pressure along with the strain of his heart, caused his life to lose much of the quality it once had. Elda bore much of the strain of caring for him, and though his last years were physically difficult, she did her best to make him comfortable. 

Death and Burial

Quartermaster 1st Class Clyde Allen Monteith died on 1 July 1992 in Portland, OR. He is buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Multnomah County, OR, in Plot V, 995.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
Monte is a variation of his last name.

Honoree ID: 2180   Created by: MHOH




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