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Rex Montgomery
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Iowa City

We lost a true gentleman early Sunday morning, July 31, 2016, when Rex Montgomery passed away peacefully at Oaknoll as he neared his 93rd birthday. He was with his children.
Professor Emeritus Montgomery was an internationally recognized and the longest serving member of the University of Iowa's Department of Biochemistry, a leader at the University of Iowa, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and a gentleman in every sense of the word.
Dr. Montgomery earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Birmingham, England, in 1946, and was awarded the D.Sc. from that university in 1963. He was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa in 1955 and full professor in 1963. Dr. Montgomery served as associate dean for academic affairs in the Carver College of Medicine from 1974 to 1995. He also was at various times the associate dean of research in the Carver College of Medicine, head of the division of associated medical services, acting head of the Department of Anatomy and interim vice president of research for the university.
Dr. Montgomery's research brought over $30 million in funding to the University of Iowa. He authored over 130 original research publications, 28 reviews and three books. This work established him as one of the 20th century's most important carbohydrate biochemists, according to his colleagues. His textbooks transformed biochemistry education by pioneering the case study approach to teaching this complex subject to medical and other health sciences students. Dr. Montgomery is admired and appreciated for his remarkable impact as a teacher and mentor. He transitioned to emeritus status in 2005 and continued to make an impact in the department and field of biochemistry.
Dr. Montgomery established the physician assistant program at the University of Iowa in 1973, serving as its director until 1976. Almost 900 graduates of this nationally ranked program have helped patients throughout the world, including Rex himself in his final trip to the hospital.
He was proud to have "repaid" all of the financial support (inflated to today's dollars) provided to him for his education in England via generous donations to the University of Iowa Foundation. He established 10 funds to support the University of Iowa students, faculty and staff. Dr. Montgomery was a President's Club member at the Silver Level and was awarded the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Iowa.
Rex was a devoted member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City for over 60 years, serving several times on its vestry. He was an active supporter of Hancher.
Rex is survived by his four children, Ian (Lori), David (Michelle), Jennifer Wehrkamp (Don) and Christopher (Julie).
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, in 1987.
He leaves 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and hundreds of friends.
Husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor, scientist, gardener, tree farmer, musician, Hawkeye fan, author (including his autobiography), world traveler, philanthropist, philosopher, devoted Christian. A true Renaissance man. And always a gentleman.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City. An additional memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at Oaknoll Retirement Residence. Donations in his memory may be made to one of the following University of Iowa Foundation funds: the Professor Rex Montgomery Physician Assistant Program Scholarship, or the Rex Montgomery, Ph.D. Thesis Scholar's Prize. If you would like to share a memory, thought or condolence, please go the to funeral home website at

Posted on Wednesday, 3 August 2016