Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Colorado town mourns loss of citizen journalist

Ramona Montaño may never have been employed by a newspaper, and probably never saw her byline atop a news story, but she nonetheless committed journalism for residents of Johnstown, Colo., population 9,000. Montaño, who died March 1 of a stroke, spent years writing letters to The Johnstown Breeze, providing glimpses of daily life in her neighborhood and town. She was 85.

Montaño "managed to find time to become an unofficial commentator on the community," writes Matt Lubich, editor of the Breeze. He describes her letters: "Showing up handwritten, going on for page after page of lined notebook paper, she would congratulate residents on a job well done, or an honor well deserved -- as well as on occasion chide those she felt needed it -- usually signing the letter, 'Your faithful friend, Ramona Montaño.'" (Read more)

Her last letter to the editor came in August, when she wrote a tribute to a friend, Chet Hays, who had passed away. "I feel so sad, because we have lost a very great man. Great at everything he did. He was my hero in every sense of the word," she wrote. Similar words could be said of her. To read some of Ramona's earlier letters, click here, here and here. More of her letters can be found by searching for her name on the Breeze Web site.

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