Biography: William F. Montavon (1874-1959)

Born in Ohio, Montavon was educated in Ontario and received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1888. From 1895-97, he studied at L'Institute de Sainte Croix in Paris; he then enrolled at The Catholic University of America as a graduate student in Social Science. He left CUA in 1901 without completing his graduate education and married Mary Agnes Burrow a few months later. Montavon began his international career as a superintendent of schools in the Philippines, a position he held until 1915, when he was appointed as a U.S. commercial attaché in Latin America. In 1925, Montavon became director of the legal department of the NCWC. During his tenure, he worked to raise awareness of the turmoil caused by civil war in Mexico, as well as the problems of other Latin American countries. In 1930, President Hoover appointed Montavon to the Forbes Commission to Haiti. He later travelled with NCWC General Secretary John J. Burke and Archbishop Ruiz to Mexico, and was instrumental in helping ease the tensions between Church and State there. In 1945, the pope honored Montavon with the title Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his work.