Life Story of
Gustavo Edmundo Montes


Gustavo Edmundo Montes, son of Elceario Martin Montes and Francisca Rey Montes, was born in El Paso, Texas, November 20, 1917. Elceario Martin Montes was born on April 7, 1887 in San Elizario, Texas. Francisca Rey Montes was born in 1887 in Guadalupe Bravos, Chihuahua, the town founded by her grandfather, Jose Maria Rey, after the Mexican-American War ended in 1848. Jose Maria Rey; former Commander of the Mexican Army post at the former Presidio of San Elizario and grandson of Ysidro Rey, last Spanish Commandant of the presidio in 1821; was among about 10,000 Mexican citizens who chose not to live in the former parts of Mexico won by the United States in the Mexican-American War and to move southward to stay within Mexico.

Elceario M. Montes and Francisca Rey Montes are buried next to each other at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Ysleta, Texas. Elceario M. Montes was the son of Severo Montes and Delfina Alarcon. Severo Montes was born April 10, 1854 in San Elizario, Texas. He was the son of Telesforo Montes and Quirina Alderete. Telesforo Montes was born in San Elizario, Texas, in 1820. His father, Ramon Montes, and his mother, Dolores Arroyo, were also born in San Elizario, in 1795. Francisca Rey Montes was the daughter of Marciano Rey and Francisca Garcia Rey.

Gustavo Edmundo Montes graduated Valedictorian in 1936 from Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas. Gustavo was taught by the Christian Brothers at Cathedral, a Catholic College Prep School. While at Cathedral, Gustavo was on the staff of the Chaparral Yearbook and was a member of the Civics Club. Upon graduation from Cathedral, Gustavo was accepted at University of Texas at Austin where he began his studies in chemical engineering. Gustavo met Marcia Schattenstein at University of Texas in 1941 and they married in 1943 shortly after Marcia earned her Master's of English Education degree. Marcia Martha Schattenstein of Brooklyn, New York was born on November 22, 1919 and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's University, a Jesuit school, in 1938. Marcia's parents were Aaron David Schattenstein and Leah Taube (Toby) Walk Schattenstein. Aaron was born in Kaunas (Kovna), Lithuania (then a part of the Russian Empire) in 1894. Leah was also born in Lithuania, in 1898. Aaron David Schattenstein died in 1925 at age 31 at Montefiore Hospital (now Medical Center) in Bronx, New York, named after Sir Moses Montefiore, a British financier and philanthropist. Aaron David Schattenstein is buried in the Montefiore Section of Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, New York. Leah Walk Schattenstein died in Stamford, Connecticut in 1965 at age 67 and was cremated.

Gustavo Montes earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering at University of Texas in 1936-46. Gustavo and Marcia's two children were born in Austin; a daughter, Barbara, in 1945, and a son, Gregory, in 1947. Barbara earned her B.A. degree from Mills College, Oakland, CA, in 1966, and her M.A. degree in Art History from Tulane University in 1971. Gregory earned his B.A. degree, 'cum laude' (with honors), from Yale College in 1969, and his Master of Architecture degree, with courses in urban planning and design, from Yale Architecture School in 1972.

After Gustavo earned his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering, he started his professional career with the Elliott Corporation in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. During his time at Elliott, Gustavo worked with other engineers on a bid, which Elliott subsequently did not win, for design of the turbines for the first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus. The Elliott Corporation was one of the many corporations owned wholly or in part by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh. After working nine months at Elliott, Gustavo continued his career with the Ethyl Corporation at their refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He worked at Ethyl until 1953. He then went to work with the Chemical Division of National Distiller's Corporation at their plant in Tuscola, Illinois, about 30 miles from Champaign, Illinois where he lived with his wife and children from 1953 to 1959.

From 1959 to 1969 Gustavo worked for Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska, first as Technical Director of the company and in 1968-69 as Vice President of the Venezuelan subsidiary of Northern Natural. While Gustavo traveled back and forth between Omaha and Caracas, his wife, Marcia, stayed at their home in Omaha, although she visited Gustavo in Caracas. After Gustavo left Northern Natural, the company's name was changed to Inter-North in the 1970's. In 1985, Kenneth Lay, then Chairman of Houston Natural Gas, persuaded the executives and directors of much larger Inter-North to agree to a merger in which Lay became Chairman of the new combined corporation which was named Enron.

Gustavo was the American co-coordinator for the first joint meeting of the American and Mexican Institutes of Chemical Engineering, held in June, 1960 at the Hotel Del Prado in Mexico City. For that conference, Northern Natural Gas provided one of its company airplanes to take Gustavo, his wife and two children and a Senior Vice President of Northern and his wife and daughter from Omaha to Mexico City. When the Monteses stayed at the Hotel Del Prado, located across Avenida Juarez from the historic Alameda Park, the mural in the hotel dining room, "Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda," by Mexico's most famous mural painter, Diego Rivera, was covered up for repairs after protesters had attacked the mural to scratch out the words, "Dios No Existe" ('God Does Not Exist'), that Rivera, a Marxist, had painted in the mural which shows many prominent figures in Mexican history, including Rivera's wife, the artist, Frida Kahlo. In 1985 the strong earthquake which killed thousands of people in Mexico City, destroyed the Hotel Del Prado. However, in the ruins of the hotel, Rivera's mural was found mostly undamaged. It was later moved in sections to a nearby museum specially made for the restored mural. In 1966-77, while earning his B.A. and M.Arch. Degrees at Yale University and in California after 1972, Gustavo's son, Gregory Montes, researched and wrote a 400-page, typed manuscript on history of the Alameda Park and surrounding two-block area in central Mexico City

After his work with Northern Natural Gas in 1959-69, Gustavo was, from 1970 to 1972, Petrochemical Advisor to the Ministry of Industries of the Nigerian Government in Lagos, Nigeria where he and Marcia lived during that time. Marcia taught English and Drama at the American International School in Lagos. Her students, from many nations, included children of foreign diplomats in Lagos (since replaced by Abuja as the federal capital of Nigeria), including a daughter of Dr. John E. Reinhardt, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria in 1971-75 and Director, U.S. Information Agency, 1977-80. After living a few months in Europe in late 1972, Gustavo and Marcia returned to the United States.

In 1973 Gustavo served as Energy Advisor to Governor Bruce King of New Mexico and he and his wife lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In January to June, 1974 Gustavo was Petrochemical Advisor to Sonatrach, the oil and natural gas corporation of the Algerian Government. He lived and worked then in Algiers, Algeria while Marcia remained in Santa Fe.

In July, 1974 Gustavo began work as a Consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. and worked there until his retirement in 1984. During his time at the IDB, Gustavo traveled to most nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. After his retirement from the IDB, Gustavo did some consulting until 1989. At the IDB, Gustavo was Vice-President of the IDB Employee's Association (employee's union) and Marcia was, in 1975-77, President of the IDB Wive's (now Spouse's) Association.

In 1996, Gustavo and Marcia Montes moved from McLean, VA, near Washington, D.C., to Oakmont, PA, to be near their daughter, Barbara, and son-in-law, David, in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1997 Gregory Montes moved from California to Pittsburgh, PA to be near and help with his parents in their last years of life. Gustavo Montes died at Oakmont, PA, near Pittsburgh, on July 17, 1999. Marcia Montes died at Fox Chapel, PA, near Pittsburgh, on January 16, 2004. Gustavo and Marcia Montes are buried together at Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh. Some persons important in Pennsylvanian and American history are buried at Homewood Cemetery, including: Henry J. Heinz II, CEO, in 1941-66, of the condiments and food company founded by his grandfather, Henry J. Heinz; H. John Heinz III, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania in 1977-91; and Henry Clay Frick, partner of Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Corporation which later became U.S. Steel Corporation, and donor and namesake of the Frick Collection art museum in New York City.


The above information was written by Gustavo’s son, Gregory Montes.


Conrado Montes