By RICK WATSON
Editor’s note: We were grieved to learn that Jake Monte passed away Feb. 11, only a few days after we published his and his wife’s seven-decade-long love story.
As a writer for The Homewood Star, I have an opportunity to interview the most interesting and extraordinary people. A few months ago, my editor asked me to interview Jake and Margaret Monte. Jake was 98 and Margaret was 92.
As I got ready for the interview, Margaret fetched me a cup of coffee, and I settled in.
Some interviews are more difficult than others, but with Jake and Margaret, I simply asked them to tell me their story.
Jake, who had some difficulty hearing at times, would ask Margaret to repeat what she’d said. Then he’s smile and nod his head.
The story was set to run in The Homewood Star in the February edition to coincide with Valentine’s Day.
Since the couple had been married 71 years, we thought they’d make a perfect story for the cover.
Jake talked about his time in the Army during WWII and made a point of giving me a tour of the bedroom where pictures, awards, and other mementos hung on the walls.
His granddaughter, Jacqueline DeMarco, had worried that I wouldn’t be interested in seeing his collection, or that it would take too much of my time, but the short time I spent with them was delightful.
The story came out Feb. 1 and encouraged many comments from our community. The picture of the two smiling and holding hands looked like a postcard.
Then on Saturday, February 11, I got an email from Jacqueline saying that Jake had passed away.
She went on to say that he was proud of the story, and thanked me for writing it.
The thing is, it’s having the opportunity to talk to gems like Jake and Margaret Monte that makes me realize I have the best job on the planet.
Rest In Peace, Jake.