Father Robert M. Monti, at the age of 90 and a priest for 59 years, died on Sunday, June 28, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Robert Monti was born May 13, 1930, in Genoa, Wisconsin, the son of Matthew Bernard and Angeline Adaline (Gianoli) Monti. He attended St. Charles School in Genoa and Aquinas High School in La Crosse. Before starting college, he joined the U.S. Air Force for four years. While in the Air Force, he went to college at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas for a year and a half. After leaving the Air Force, he then continued in his studies at Loyola University in Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He earned a Master of Arts degree in theological studies at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee. He was ordained a priest May 20, 1961 at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse by the Most Reverend John Patrick Treacy.
Father Monti’s first assignment was as an Assistant at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Cadott for 15 months. He then was assigned a Chaplain at St. Benedict Hospital in Durand for a few months before being granted permission to serve in the United States Air Force as a Chaplain. Over the next 23 years he served at the following: Minot AFB in North Dakota, Thule AB in Greenland, Selfridge AFB in Michigan, Pleiku AB in South Vietnam, Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, Ankara AB in Turkey, Athens AB in Greece, Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon in Virginia, Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Aviano AB in Italy, and McGuire AFB in New Jersey.
After Father Monti retired from the Armed Forces, he took a four-month sabbatical at the Institute On Spirituality at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. In February 1986, he was assigned as Pastor at the following parishes: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Keyesville, St. Kilian in Bear Valley, and Sacred Heart in Lone Rock. Father Monti felt strongly called for years to serve the poor and rejected in society and, in March 1992, he resigned his pastorate in Keyesville, Bear Valley, and Lone Rock and was given permission to serve those with HIV/AIDS in the Archdiocese of Miami. He was granted senior priest status on June 10, 2005, yet he continued to serve part-time into his 87th year at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale until January 2018.
As a senior priest, he resided in Pompano Beach, Florida and Fort Lauderdale. After being diagnosed with cancer in April 2018, and after receiving chemotherapy, he moved back to his hometown of Genoa in February 2019 to be with family and in anticipation of entering hospice. To his surprise, he recovered quite well and, when no active cancer was found, he returned to his home in Florida in October 2019.
Father Robert Monti was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters and brothers-in-law: Kathryn (Philip) Malin, Therese (Adolph) Trussoni, and Mary Jane (Chester) Bente. He is also preceded in death by his nephew Thomas Malin. He is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Genoa.
Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home in La Crosse is assisting with the arrangements.