Paul D’Alessandro and Judy Montgomery, both 68, of Brunswick pose for a photo in Cape Cod. Courtesy of Herman Holbrook

Members of the Brunswick community are mourning the loss of a local couple who died in a head-on car crash in Lewiston on May 26.

Judy Montgomery and her husband, Paul D’Alessandro, both 68, died in the crash, as did the other driver, John McBean Jr., 34, of Connecticut and New Hampshire, who died at Central Maine Medical Center. D’Alessandro and Montgomery’s dog, Sparrow, also died in the crash.

According to a report from the Sun Journal, the two vehicles collided head-on at 2075 Lisbon St., or Route 196, near Valley Beverage.

D’Alessandro and Montgomery were respected, integral members of the Brunswick community, who gave back in more ways than one, according to people who knew them.

“I think there are very few people out there in the world who are truly kind and have a completely giving heart and I believe Judy and Paul were two of those people,” said Tedford Housing Executive Director Rota Knott.

Tedford Housing operates two shelters in Brunswick for those experiencing homelessness. According to Knott, Montgomery was on Tedford’s board beginning in 2009.

“She helped the larger community understand the true nature of homelessness in Brunswick,” Knott said. “There’s going to be a big hole in the greater Brunswick community.”

Both Montgomery and D’Alessandro also volunteered at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, a Brunswick-based food-insecurity nonprofit.

Paul D’Alessandro volunteering at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Courtesy of Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program

According to Mid Coast Hunger’s Deputy Director Hannah Chatalbash, D’Alessandro first started volunteering at the organization in 2010 and had served longer than any current staff member. Montgomery also volunteered with the organization over the past year.

“Paul was a gentle, steady, generous person,” Chatalbash said. “He gave of himself without complaint or hesitation.”

In a social media post last week, Mid Coast Hunger said that 11 years ago, when D’Alessandro was asked on an application why he wanted to volunteer, he wrote “to help out.”

“It was a simple message demonstrating his desire to serve the community,” the organization wrote. “For 11 years, Paul shared his life with us, and volunteers remember him bursting into song, never complaining, and cooking endless amounts of pasta.”

Montgomery worked in the Bowdoin College library for 38 years, retiring in 2017 and D’Alessandro worked at Portland Public Library, among others.

D’Alessandro and Montgomery moved to Brunswick after they both earned masters degrees in library science from Kent State University, according to Marjorie Hassen, director of the Bowdoin library.

“They had been inseparable since meeting during their first week as undergraduate students at Valparaiso University, where, I have come to learn, Paul patiently edited Judy’s papers and introduced her to his favorite poetry,” wrote Hassen.

Starting in 2017, the couple also volunteered with the Merrymeeting Gleaners, an organization that sends volunteers to harvest surplus produce at local farms before distributing it to people in need.

“They really had a gift for just conversation and they would talk to anybody and be genuinely interested in what people were saying,” said Gleaning Coordinator Kelly Davis. “They had a way of making everybody feel really important and valued.”

Judy Montgomery, 68, of Brunswick. Courtesy of Tedford Housing

According to Brunswick resident Herman Holbrook, who became friends with both D’Alessandro and Montgomery over 40 years ago while attending Bowdoin College, a small gathering of close friends was held in Brunswick over the weekend to commemorate the couple.

“My whole life has been so immensely enriched by them, so, I just, I don’t really know how to go on from day to day,” Holbrook said. “They were the most generous, selfless people I have ever met.”

Holbrook said that the couple did not have children and only recently became legally married for practical reasons about three years ago.

According to Holbrook, the couple was in Lewiston for a veterinarian’s appointment. “We had just seen them literally hours before the news came, and now there’s an immense hole in my life and I know that I will never fill it,” Holbrook said.

Although the crash was still under investigation as of Tuesday, Lewiston Police Lt. David St. Pierre said speed may have been a factor.

“At this time there have been no toxicology updates,” St. Pierre wrote in an email. “There is nothing outwardly obvious in terms of suspected drug or alcohol use of either driver.”

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