Joseph B Montoya
April 30, 1939 – June 21, 2022
Sacramento, California – Senator Joseph B. Montoya was born on April 30, 1939 in Rocky Ford, Colorado. He entered into rest at the age of 83 on June 21, 2022 in Sacramento, California, surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Rosalie, and his brother Andy. He is survived by his beloved wife, Rita Stephenson, his children, Christina (James) Hannis, Pilar (Joe) Barrigas, Joseph III (Alejandra), and Marisa (Mitch) Marken, his stepson, Bronson (Tesla) Stephenson and his Godson , Phillip (Elisabeth) Nails. His grandchildren, Alexander, Christian, Miranda, Carlos (Karina), Gael, Gavin, Marisela, Micaela, Bronson, and Royce and one great-grandchild, Augustine. He is also survived by his siblings, Frank (Janet), Gerald (Shelly), Paul (Elva), and Maria.
When Joseph was a freshman in high school his parents moved to La Puente, California where he attended La Puente High School. He attended Mt. San Antonio Community College and graduated from UCLA.
Joseph served in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Spain at the Torrejon Air Base, where he met his former spouse (Pilar) and mother of his children.
Senator Montoya began his political career in local politics, first as a Council Member and Mayor in the City of La Puente. Later he was elected as an Assemblyman and then a State Senator in the California State Legislature.
He remained proud and humble of his many contributions. As a father and grandfather, Senator Montoya often spoke with pride of his children and grandchildren and their accomplishments. He was very proud to serve his country in the United States Air Force. As a social worker, Senator Montoya displayed compassion for the families he helped. He kept that compassion until his stroke in 2017 by always offering to help young students with writing resumes or providing letters of recommendation.
As a legislator he carried bills to reform California’s redevelopment laws and created a commission of labor contractors. In 1973, as an Assemblyman, he and four other Latino legislators formed the Chicano Legislative Caucus. “The establishment of the Caucus marked a significant turning point in the political empowerment of the Latino community. For the first time in California’s legislative history, an agenda was formulated and legislative priorities were developed to protect and preserve the rights of Latinos throughout California.” In 1982, Senator Montoya authored (SB 1546) establishing “California Day of the Teacher”. The Legislature set aside the second Wednesday in May as the official Day of the Teacher. Last year’s theme was Cultivating Minds & Healing Hearts. In 1983, Senator Montoya authored (SB 708), Apprentice funding at school districts and community colleges; requiring each 50 minute hour of teaching time reimbursed at that rate. No charges or fees shall be required of any apprentice for admission or attendance in any apprenticeship course or activity. Senator Montoya considered himself a moderate Democrat. In 1986, his final election to the Senate, he was the only Senator of 20 running for reelection who ran unopposed.
While living in Sacramento, he joined several small organizations, but the one he enjoyed most was Brookfields Real Estate Group.
In 2004, Senator Montoya moved permanently to Sacramento to live with his wife, Rita, and her family until his passing. Senator Montoya remained happy and humorous and not afraid to use coarse words until the end.
A memorial mass and reception will be held in Sacramento, California at Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish, 3263 1st Ave (Broadway) on Wednesday, June 29th at 11:00 am. A funeral mass and burial will be held in La Puente, CA, at a later date.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Jun. 26, 2022.
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