Funeral of Eden Montang, victim of the Ames shooting



Mourners celebrated the faith, intelligence and brilliance of Eden Montang on Wednesday afternoon at Cornerstone Church in Ames with color. Many colors.

Montang’s family had requested that people avoid black and wear bright colors to the service on Wednesday, and the Cornerstone Church auditorium was as colorful as a flower garden, which his family said they would have loved .

Mourners wore yellows, greens, blues and pinks. Takoda, Montang’s beloved dog, sat with his family in the front row. The only dark clothing to be seen: the ceremonial uniforms of the dozens of members of the Iowa National Guard, in which Montang served, in a special section of the auditorium.

“Everyone who describes her describes her as a fun, articulate, courageous, thoughtful and powerful young woman with a colorful personality,” Reverend Mark Vance said during the service. “And it’s the most colorful funeral I’ve ever been to.”

Eden Montang, 22, and Vivian Flores, 21, a student at Iowa State University, had planned to attend a Salt Company service at Cornerstone Church in Ames on June 2. 33, shot them and killed them before committing suicide.

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“When a life is lost, we come together to say the life was precious, precious,” Vance said Wednesday. “It’s about… celebrating the life Eden lived.”

Montang grew up in Boone, graduated from Boone High School in 2018 and was an ISU senior at the College of Human Sciences.

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“She read books for fun”

Eden’s friends and family knew her affectionately by nicknames like “Papoose,” “Squirt,” and “Little Girl,” according to her obituary.

“Eden was a real joy to our family, her friends and all the lives she touched,” said Montang’s aunt, Nancy Vance. “She is forever in our hearts. I love you, Eden.”

Her parents are Terry and Mia Montang, of Boone, and her older siblings are Ethan and Elyse, both of Des Moines. Ethan Montang spoke at the funeral, reflecting on the similarities and differences that made his bond with his sister so strong.

“We had a lot of differences. Growing up, she read books for fun,” Ethan said, receiving laughter from the crowd. “I think she was writing her first book at 11 and proofreading my college papers at 12.”

Photos of Eden Montang are displayed in the hall during a funeral service at Cornerstone Church on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in Ames, Iowa.  Montang, 22, of Boone, and Vivian Flores, 21, of West Des Moines, were shot June 2 in the church parking lot.

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The funeral service program featured notes written by Eden, including one that read, “My two main characteristics are integrity and discipline. What are yours?”

Eden’s father, Terry Montang, is a retired US Army Master Sergeant. His military service took the family to many parts of the world. As a child, she visited Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland.

“She started traveling the world when she was 6 years old…she loved seeing the world created by God,” said Reverend Sol Rexius of the Salt Company.

After high school, Eden Montang studied at a massage therapy school in New Mexico. She later worked part-time as a message therapist at Massage Heights in Ames and part-time at Blessed Hands Cleaning while a full-time student.

Family and friends comfort each other during a funeral service for Eden Montang at the church Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in Ames, Iowa.  Two Iowa State students, Eden Montang, 22, of Boone, and Vivian Flores, 21, of West Des Moines, were shot and killed June 2 in the church parking lot.

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When Montang returned from New Mexico, she joined the National Guard to help pay for classes in Iowa State.

After attending boot camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Fort Lee, Va., she served in the Iowa National Guard, where she served as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist with Detachment 1, Headquarters Support Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion in Boon.

“I liked her straight away and we quickly became friends,” said Danielle Vota, who did basic training with Montang. “She really felt like a sister to me.”

Eden had a multitude of interests, and she particularly enjoyed reading and writing.

She also used American Sign Language from an early age. She took this passion for sign language to the college level as a teaching assistant at Iowa State.

Eden loved music and enjoyed many genres. Her family and friends said the music tended to follow her wherever she went.

After:‘Built-in best friend’: Siblings remember Ames victim’s love and faith

Mark Vance, senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, speaks during a funeral service for Eden Montang Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in Ames, Iowa.  Montang was a member of the Iowa National Guard.  Montang, 22, of Boone, and Vivian Flores, 21, of West Des Moines, were shot June 2 in the church parking lot.

Flores’ siblings, Samantha Bell, Valarie Flores and Zachary Anderson, shared memories of their sister with the Des Moines Register on Monday afternoon. The Flores memorial service on Thursday, June 9, will not be open to media or broadcast live.

The siblings talked about how Flores would radiate joy and positivity. They also talked about Montang, whom Vivian and Valarie Flores had met at a Salt Company retreat in fall 2021 at Hidden Acres Christian Center in Dayton.

“She had left on her own and was placed in our group by chance,” Valarie Flores said. “And I said, ‘Eden, do you have a church group?’ and she didn’t, so I asked her to join our band. We became very close friends.

Salt Company members meet as a large group every week and also break into small groups to meet. Vivian and Valarie Flores, fraternal twins, and Montang have stuck together as a small group since meeting in retirement.

Montang had driven Valarie Flores to the church program on June 2.

“We had an ice cream date ahead of time. Eden was at all of our gatherings. She was there for our 21st birthday,” Valarie Flores said. “She was so humble and compassionate. She was one of the most wonderful human beings I have ever met in my life.”

Montang’s relationship with Christ was paramount in his life, Valarie Flores said.

“Eden shared all the same values ​​as the girls,” added Samantha Bell. “That’s why they connected so well. They were very similar in that.”

Ronna Faaborg is an editor for the Ames Tribune. Contact her at [email protected] Grace Altenhofen is an intern at the Des Moines Register. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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