Montague "Monte" Middleton Upshaw
May 11, 1936 – July 26, 2017
Montague “Monte” Middleton Upshaw, former chairman of Fidelity Roof Company, passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease on July 26, 2017. He is survived by his wife Joan, his previous wife, Carol, and their four children, a brother, and 13 grandchildren.
Monte took over the management of Fidelity Roof Company (FRC) in the 1960s, following the untimely death of his father. He grew the business into a premiere roofing company that gained local and national recognition.
“It is unmeasurable to quantify how many people started or enhanced their careers at Fidelity Roof Company,” says Steve Cadet, a FRC colleague and personal friend of Monte’s for over 40 years. “Bay Area roofing companies are filled with numerous individuals who had the opportunity to take advantage of the roofing template that existed at FRC. Also, Monte was one of the first in the industry to hire women roofers, many who continued their careers beyond their initial experiences at FRC.”
Monte held prominent leadership roles for numerous roofing industry groups and civic associations including: the Union and Merit Contractors; National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA); Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland; East Bay Community Foundation; Claremont Country Club; Cal Alumni Association; and the Cal “Big C” Society.
Monte was a graduate of Piedmont High School where he was student body president, and an incredible, world-class interscholastic track star in the long-jump, high and low hurdles, and mile relay, as well as a stellar prep football wide receiver. During his junior and senior years he was named the Northern California Prep of the Year and was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune.
Other outstanding athletic accomplishments Monte achieved during his high school years included: tying a national record of 18.8 in the 180 high hurdles, and a world-record-breaking long jump of 25’4-1/2, a record that was previously held by Olympic great Jessie Owens, and placed Monte as the fifth ranking long jumper in the world.
Monte’s athletic accomplishments continued at UC Berkeley, where he studied business and political science and continued in track and field despite a knee injury that dashed his hopes of participating in the 1956 Rome Olympics. With his teammates, he achieved a world record in the sprint relay. Monte was inducted into the UC Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Also, while at CAL, Monte was in ROTC and received his U.S. Army Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the reserves as a paratrooper. He completed his reserve service at Ft. Benning, Georgia before returning to the Bay Area to manage FRC, and help his mother raise his two younger siblings.
Monte’s enthusiasm, optimism, and concern for others will always be cherished and greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland, the Cal “Big C” Society, or a charity of your choice.
A celebration of life, with reception to follow, will be held at Claremont County Club, on Sunday, September 10 at 3:00 p.m. Monte’s family looks forward to greeting his many friends and sharing fond remembrances of this wonderful, kind, and loving man.