Komarek among most notable area residents lost in 2014

BY GABRIEL MONTE

A-J MEDIA

They may have been known for their talents and achievements but they will be remembered for their compassion and good deeds.

Notable South Plains residents who died in 2014 include:

Steve Komarek

Komarek was the driving force behind the annual Paint the Sky for Fourth of July fireworks display in Wolfforth.

He died Jan. 26 at the age of 52.

Komarek was born in Iowa, but moved to Lubbock where he graduated from high school. As a high schooler his job at Varsity Book Store led to a career in the textbook business.

Komarek was known for his volunteer spirit, which included joining the Wolfforth Volunteer Fire Department. He had a hand in establishing the Wolfforth Regional Fire Academy.

As a firefighter, Komarek eventually became involved in putting on Wolfforth’s first fireworks display, in 1996. He later became licensed to put on larger displays, including Class B fireworks.

He also played a key role in starting up the department’s Santa project to deliver presents to children.

Komarek also served as president of the Meals on Wheels Program of Wolfforth.

Reta Jones

Jones is credited for the Habitat For Humanity in Lubbock.

Jones, who married Texas Rep. Delwin Jones, visited the Habitat For Humanity headquarters during a legislative session and spent five months volunteering.

She returned to Lubbock with a mission to establish the organization in the city.

She died March 20 at the age of 90.

Davis Armistead

Armistead, a well-known optometrist in Lubbock, was famous for fitting Buddy Holly with his famed glasses.

He is also remembered for civic service.

Armistead was a member of the Rotary Club, Lubbock Goodwill, The Boy Scouts and the United Way. He also worked with the South Plains Food Bank since its inception. In 2013, he was honored as the Hunger Hero of the Year.

Armistead served in World War II and was a member of a unit in the signal corps called The Codebreakers, whose job was to intercept enemy communications. He was awarded the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.

He died June 7 at the age of 98.

Bobby Keys

Keys, who played saxophone with the Rolling Stones, was inducted into the West Texas Hall of Fame in 1984.

He played on recordings for music legends such as John Lennon, George Harrison, Barbra Streisand and Eric Clapton.

Keys grew up in Slaton where he learned to play the saxophone.

His skill with the instrument caught the attention of Buddy Holly, who would invite him to hang out at rehearsals with The Crickets.

West Texas musician Joe Ely described Keys as a passionate musician who embodied the brand of music specific to Lubbock.

Keys also had a rambunctious spirit associated with rock ’n’ roll musicians.

He died Dec. 2 at the age of 70 in his home in Franklin, Tenn.

Bob Montgomery

Montgomery was one of Buddy Holly’s earlier partners.

The two hosted a radio show and wrote songs including “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” and “Wishing.”

After Holly’s death, Montgomery moved to Nashville and became a staff songwriter and penned “Misty Blue.”

He established House of Gold Music and produced hits for Alabama, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West and the Judds.

Montgomery died Dec. 5 at the age of 77 in his home in Summit, Mo.

Gale Goldwater

Goldwater served with the Lubbock Fire Rescue for more than a quarter of a century.

Goldwater moved to Lubbock from Amarillo to attend Texas Tech.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for three years.

He joined the Lubbock Fire Department in 1969 and retired in 1996 as deputy chief.

At his celebration of life ceremony Goldwater was described as a loving husband, devoted father and loyal friend.

He enjoyed spending time with his family and the outdoors, according to his obituary.

He was remembered for his generous nature and self-reliance.

He died Dec. 24 at the age of 68.

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