Around Bosco: Celebrating the Life and Service of Mr. Monty McDermott
by Eric Torres, Editor-In-Chief
Last Friday, the Brave community gathered to celebrate and remember the life of the ultimate Brave, Mr. Monty McDermott, class of 1986.
Fittingly, the funeral took place in Panish Family Stadium, a large symbol of the culture that Mr. McDermott instilled, especially in the area of athletics.
As a reminder of who Mr. McDermott was, and what he valued, the stadium was filled with Bosco alumni, from past teachers to old friends and family of Mr. McDermott.
The service began with a rendition of the song “Beth” by the American rock band Kiss, who Mr. McDermott was a noted superfan. The music was played by theater instructors Mr. Martin Lang, Tim McNalley, James Flaherty and Marco Soronio, who in addition played the music for the rest of the mass, with a rock twist.
Furthermore, the speakers who participated in the mass were a well-chosen list of Bosco and St. Joseph alumni, both students and teachers, who either had a strong connection with Mr. McDermott or are a member of his department. These speakers included religious studies teacher and football coach Mr. Joseph Griffin, class of 1975, Director of Football Operations Mrs. Jessie Christensen, St. Joseph class of 1989, former golf coach and former religious studies teacher Mr. Jack Hastert, class of 1970, football player Jairus Satele, baseball player Jake Ellison and cross country runner Chris Chavez, all class of 2022.
In addition, gifts, which encapsulated the Salesian man of faith that Mr. McDermott was, were presented to the altar. These gifts included each aspect of St. John Bosco’s Oratory model, as well as Mr. McDermott’s Varsity Jacket and rings. Gift bearers included Mrs. Jeanne Pantuso, St. Joseph class of 1978, his son, Monty McDermott Jr., football coach Mr. Jon Hall, his nephew, Daniel de la Cuerva, class of 2004, sister Carrie Ruffalo, St. Joseph class of 1982 and sister Marnie Woods, St. Joseph class of 1983.
An electrifying rendition of “Dream On” by the band set the stage for the eulogies, which were given by both football head coach Jason Negro, class of 2004, and Daniel de la Cuerva.
One consistent throughout both eulogies was how much Mr. McDermott loved the school he served, in many capacities, for 29 years.
“Rarely not in Bosco athletic shorts and t-shirts at holidays, he would proudly brag and boast about his beloved Bosco Braves. He would tell us about each student-athlete and where they were going to play sports. He loved and was so proud of the young men,” said de la Cuerva.
Beyond his vast successes in the athletic department, Mr. McDermott was widely admired as an all-around great man, a man of integrity, humility and understanding, qualities that made him the excellent leader that he was. He was even recognized as such by CIF, winning the CIF Champion for Character Award in 2007.
“When I think about the genuine characteristics that made Monty who he was as a leader in our department, I always admire his humility and his unwavering integrity. Monty also took great pride in being a learner. He wanted to improve his skill set so he could better serve his coaches,” said Coach Negro.
Finally, nothing sums up the vast range of responsibilities held by Mr. McDermott, especially in such a role as the athletic director.
“Monty and I would talk privately a lot about the responsibilities we carry and the roles that we have here at Bosco. How challenging it must be to be a mentor of young people, win games on the field, manage the expectations of the alumni, recognize the efforts of the teachers and staff in the classroom and most importantly, be true ambassadors of Don Bosco and the Salesians each and every day,” said Coach Negro.
Yet, Monty seemed to handle each of these tasks with ease. In learning and carrying on the traditions of St. John Bosco High School, he ushered in a new generation of Bosco culture, within and outside of athletics.
The service concluded in true Monty fashion, with the playing of the song “Home Sweet Home” by American heavy metal band Motley Crue.
To support Mr. McDermott and his family, contributions can be made to the Monty McDermott Memorial & Athletic Fund.