The shrapnel injury Montegna suffered was reported on July 10, 1945 in the Centerville Daily Iowegian & Citizen. The story, according to what Gaetano and Josephina Montegna reported to the paper, was their son Neno “sustained a blast concussion of the head and back in action against the enemy at Okinawa Island, Rukyu Islands.” Montegna arrived in the U.S. from Okinawa June 16, 1945 and was stationed at San Leandro Naval Hospital in San Leandro, Calif. The story reports Montegna was removed for medical treatment May 30, 1945.
Montegna recovered from the shrapnel injury and returned to Centerville. While back home Montegna said he didn’t have a job, lived with his parents but ended up meeting his future wife at a roller skating rink in Centerville, Phyllis Morlan, who was born in Sigourney.
“And I told my friend that I had with me, ‘Boy, she’s a good skater,’” Montegna said. “So I waited until she quit and I asked her if she would go out with me and she said, ‘Yes.’”
Tony and Phyllis dated for two weeks when he asked: “Will you marry me?”
Phyllis said yes but she was just 16 and Tony was 23. It was 1949. So Tony decided it was necessary to ask her father for his daughter’s hand.
“So I asked her father the next day and he said, ‘No,’” Montegna said.
Phyllis’ father, Lorance, was farming 160 acres of corn near Udell for the federal government and he needed her to drive the tractor for the upcoming harvest. Phyllis was the oldest in her family with two younger brothers.
“And I said, ‘Is that why you won’t let me marry her? And he said, ‘Yes.’”
So Tony and Phyllis eloped and got married that very night. That was in July of 1949.
The next day Tony travelled to California to stay with an older sister and find a job, but left Phyllis at home to help her father with the harvest. It wasn’t too much later Phyllis would join him.