William Anselm Monti, Sr., age 81, passed away on October 11, 2022, at home in Bay St. Louis, MS, surrounded by his loving wife, Millie, and his family.
Whether you knew him as “Billy”, “Big Bill”, or “Bill Senior”, you surely could never forget him. He was a deeply caring, big-hearted Christian man whose nature was to always help others. Those fortunate enough to have known Bill in life were blessed with a friend, father, or brother that you could call on whenever you needed help. His natural gift was that he knew how to fix anything that needed repairing. His laughter was infectious, and he always managed to brighten your day.
Bill Monti was born in 1941 to Thomas Francis (T.F.) Monti and Mary Benvenutti Monti in Bay St. Louis and was the second of their four children. He was raised by his devout Catholic parents in Bay St. Louis, among numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who provided a wealth of family stories for Bill to remember and pass on. Bill’s love of God and love of family grew and served him well as his foundation throughout life.
After graduating from Bay High, Bill attended USM. He also began working at WDAM television station in Hattiesburg where he met his future bride, the beautiful Patricia Ann (Pat) Robinson. Bill and Pat were married in 1961 and celebrated 53 years of marriage until her passing in 2014. In 1965, Bill and Pat moved back to Bay St. Louis and built their home on State Street where their back yard opened to the back yard of his parents. This benefited both families because Bill and Pat were soon blessed with three children, Bill, Jr., Angelia, and Cherrie, who grew up under the loving watch of their parents and grandparents.
Soon Bill joined his father at Coast Electric Power Association and, like his father, found a second “family” among his co-workers, many of whom became life-long friends. Bill worked at Coast Electric in the Meter Division for 13 years before resigning. He always dreamed of opening an appliance shop or a little repair business of his own. In 1977, he took a big gamble and left the security of Coast Electric to become a partner in a new wholesale electrical distribution supply business in Bay St. Louis founded by his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Kathleen Monti. It was because of the depth of Bill’s knowledge of the electrical industry, his people personality, and his business contacts, that Monti Electric Supply, Inc. became a successful business that operated for 30 years in the three Coast counties.
Bill Monti was an active and lifelong parishioner of Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Bay St. Louis. Years ago, he wanted to increase the fundraising efforts of the parish’s church fair by creating a festival that would attract the regional community and not just parishioners. He enlisted the support of his family and friends and then talked Joe into joining him as the first co-Chairmen. It was because of Bill’s leadership, vision, determination, and hard work, that the first annual OLG Crab Festival was held on July 4-7, 1985, at the foot of the Bay St. Louis Bridge on property then owned by Mr. Pete Fountain. Despite torrential rains, it was a huge success much to everyone’s surprise except Bill’s. He talked his best friends, Dr. Sidney and Mary Doug Chevis, into joining as co-chairs the following year. For the past 37 years, the OLG Crab Festival has enjoyed great success under new leaders and is recognized today as the premier summertime event to attend in Bay St. Louis.
Three years after his first wife, Pat, passed away, Billy was blessed to find love again. Billy courted Millie Rutledge and they married in April 2017 when he was 75 years young. He had enough room in his big heart to accept and love Millie’s children and grandchildren as though they were his own. The duo known as Billy and Millie enjoyed life as they travelled, played, and prayed together. They grew together in love and in their spiritual life always trusting in God’s divine plan for them, even as Billy was dying of cancer.
William Anselm Monti, Sr. is preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Patricia; his beloved sister, Mathilde Marie (Mimi) Heitzmann and her husband Carl Heitzmann; his sister-in-law Cassie Monti; his nephew, Michael Monti; his step-granddaughter, Lauren Carpenter; and his beloved dog, Trigger.
He is survived by his wife, Millie Church Monti; his son, William Anselm Monti, Jr. (Bill Jr.); his two daughters, Angelia Monti Bourgeois (Rickey) and Cherrie Monti Smith (Anthony) and Kellie Carvin Anderson who was unofficially “adopted” into the Monti family years ago as his third daughter; his step-children Brad Rutledge (Dina), Elizabeth Rutledge Mooney (Tim), and Amy Rutledge Genin (Thomas); his two brothers, Thomas Anthony Monti, Sr., and Joseph E. Monti (Kathleen), and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bill is also survived by his grandchildren: Paul Cory Bourgeois, Patricia Monet Bourgeois Chesness (Derek), Gavin Smith, Aubrey Smith and Presley Smith as well as his step-grandchildren Ryan (Rachel), Brandon (Faith), Hunter, Carson, Carly, Aidan, Avery, and Jaxon. His great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren are Baylee Clair Chesness, Rivers Monti Chesness and Presley, Sophie, Rowan, and Greyson.
A celebration of Bill Sr.’s life will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Bay St. Louis, MS. Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 12 p.m. Noon. A private interment will be held on a later date at the Garden of Memory Cemetery, 630 Central Avenue, Bay St. Louis, MS. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift in Bill’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Edmond Fahey Funeral Home, 110 S. Necaise Avenue, Bay St. Louis, MS is honored to serve the family of William Anselm Monti, Sr.