William Montgomery “Monty” Gano will be remembered for his old soul, deep love of brotherhood and cowboy spirit.
Monty was raised in New Mexico, where he helped his mother, Dianne Gano, guide tourists on trail rides through the wilderness.
“He started riding horses when he was three years old and was an excellent horseman,” Dianne said. “That’s when I put him to work. By the time he was four, he could actually lead a ride through the wilderness. He loved that work, and it made him quite social. There wasn’t such thing as a stranger.”
Monty was a proud member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and according to political science sophomore Matt Aris, he was an example of fellowship to many in the fraternity.
“He’s a picture of what anyone could ever imagine of being a brother,” Aris said. “If I ever needed anything, he’s my first phone call. “Everything he said was blunt, but you know he meant everything he said with love.”
Monty’s fraternity brother and roommate Coy Westbrook said he will always treasure the long discussions he had with Monty during their many road trips.
“People can fake who they are in a one-on-one conversation, but when you’re trapped in a little car for 12 hours with somebody, you see who they really are,” said Westbrook. “Monty was one of those guys who would give you the shirt off his back if he needed to, but he’d always be ready to make a joke at your expense.”
According to Dianne, Monty saw the good in everything and was fascinated by the beauty of nature.
“When he was in high school in Albuquerque, he would call me sometimes — ‘Mama, look at the mountains. They’re so beautiful. The light’s hitting them just right,’” Dianne said. “Even though he grew up with them, he still saw the beauty. It never eluded him.”
Westbrook said Monty was Old Army through and through, and never stopped talking about college football.
“Although he’s a first generation Aggie, he’s somebody you’d expect to have came from a family of five generations of Aggies,” Westbrook said. “That guy bled maroon, and he always wanted to do more to embrace the Aggie spirit.”
Dianne said Monty’s decision to enroll at Texas A&M came from his strong personal values and interest in the natural world.
“As smart as he was, that wasn’t his focus,” Dianne said. “He didn’t want to be real competitive. He wanted everyone to succeed. He wasn’t worried about anything.”
Named after his great-great-great-great-grandfather, a Civil War general, Monty was a history enthusiast from a very young age.
“He didn’t watch cartoons when he was little, he watched the History Channel,” Dianne said. “When he was a little kid, he didn’t want toys for Christmas. He wanted a Civil War replica sword.”
Dianne said Monty’s natural kindness and empathy taught her to be more accepting of all people.
“It doesn’t matter their views or anything like that,” Dianne said. “Everybody has something good to offer.”