Harry E. Montgomery
born July 24, 1931 died Sept. 15, 2021
When Harry Montgomery gazed into the nighttime sky, he saw more than stars. He knew one of his crowning aeronautical achievements was keeping watch and collecting data as part of NASA’s Earth Observation System. Dr. Montgomery died from heart failure September 15 at his Brookeville home. He was 90.
During more than 40 years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Montgomery was involved in development of cutting-edge calibration devices for the Orbiting Geophysical Observatories and the Synchronous Meteorological Satellite. However, he was most proud of his work as Sensor Engineer on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The MODIS technology has scanned and measured Earth’s environmental changes, including cloud cover and radiation, since 1999 and is still in use. Its recent scans have provided scientists with valuable data on the deadly wildfires in California and Oregon. Dr. Montgomery was honored several times by NASA for his contributions to the agency’s science missions.
After retirement from NASA in 2002, Dr. Montgomery often accompanied his wife, State Senator Karen S. Montgomery, on her official duties and contributed to her office’s research and constituent work. He worked on her campaigns for House of Delegates from 2002 to 2008 and on her Senate campaigns in 2010 and 2014.
A native of Hagerstown, Harry Ellsworth Montgomery was the son of Daniel and Grace Jenkins Montgomery. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Catholic University. He served as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts and the Community Center for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC).
Dr. Montgomery is survived by his wife, Karen of Brookeville; sisters Daisy, Rose and Darlene; two sons Timothy of North Bethesda and Richard of Gaithersburg; a daughter Elizabeth of Miami; four grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Richard.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 11am at the Brookeville Academy, 5 High St., Brookeville, MD 20833, with a luncheon to follow.
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