Dr. Michael Montgomery

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr. Michael Montgomery passed away on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the age of 69. He is remembered fondly by everyone here, and our best wishes go out to those he leaves behind.

He leaves behind a legacy of lives touched by his scholarship and, more importantly, his friendship. He was a giant in the field of American dialectology and sociolinguistics, and he was an authority on the Appalachian region, the American South, and the history and development of American English. He was also a noted scholar of Ulster Scots and the Scots-Irish influence on American English. His generosity, kindness, wit, and guidance touched the lives of innumerable individuals. He was quick with a smile and a joke, and also encouragement. He was a longtime member and former president of the American Dialect Society, and was always a champion for the society, its goals, and its future. He will be dearly missed.

Services will be held both in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina. The service in Knoxville will be at Broadway Chapel on August 1st from 12pm-2pm with a graveside service at 3pm. A memorial will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia on August 6th starting at 2pm.

Here is an obituary prepared by his family:

Michael Bryant Montgomery, age 69, of Lexington, SC, formerly of Knoxville, TN, passed away on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Michael was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, and a graduate of Holston High School (class of 1968), Maryville College (B.A.), the University of Tennessee (M.A.), and the University of Florida (Ph.D in linguistics). He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Linguistics at the University of South Carolina and a renowned expert on Southern American English, Appalachian English, Ulster Scots, and the Scots-Irish influence on American English. Michael was an author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English (co-author, 2004); Language Volume 5 of New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (co-editor, 2007); From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish History of American English (2017); and Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English (co-author, forthcoming). He was co-host of a website on Appalachian English, at: http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/engl/dictionary/. His honors included the 2004 Wilma Dykeman Award for Historical Writing from the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Cratis D. Williams/James Brown Award from the Appalachian Studies Association, one of the Top 100 Most influential People in the Great Smoky Mountains History by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and a Grammy nomination for the music CD “Old Time Smoky Mountain Music.” He was Past President of the American Dialect Society, the Southeastern Conference on Linguistic, and the Ulster Scots Language Society. Michael was preceded in death by his parents Bryant Smith Montgomery and Ann Cunningham Montgomery. He was survived by his sister Marcia Ann Montgomery, sister Karen Montgomery Atchley and husband Philip Earl Atchley, brother David Arthur Montgomery and wife Maria Montgomery, nieces Rachel Elaine Atchley and Julia Bess Lopez, and nephews Philip Marcus Atchley, Michael David Montgomery, Victor Bryant Montgomery, and Daniel Arthur Montgomery.

The family will receive friends from 12:00 noon until 2:00 pm on August 1, 2019 at ROSE MORTUARY BROADWAY CHAPEL, Knoxville, TN. Family and friends will meet at 2:45 pm on August 1, 2019 at Greenwood Cemetery, Knoxville, TN for a 3:00 pm graveside service. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to World Vision, Federal Way, WA; or to Estate of Michael Montgomery (for publication of Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English), 298 Walker Road, Jellico, TN 37762.