A MEDICAL CRISIS: LEE & LAURY NEED YOUR HELP

To anyone active in the mainstream music industry over the last 35 years, the names, Lee Montgomery and Laury Shelley, are held in very high esteem.

Lee has been an icon in the Advertising Commercial industry, singing some of the most popular jingles on television and radio: Miller Beer, (Miller High Life, “Welcome to Miller Time”), Chevy Trucks (“The Heartbeat of America”), Budweiser, McDonald’s, United Airlines, and Stater Bros. Supermarkets. He was also the voice singing, “Calling Me Home Chicago”, the city’s anthem in 1985. And he’s appeared on television, (The Andy Williams Show), in Broadway shows, (“Hair), and in movies, (“Nashville”). In the 1970s, Lee co-founded the rock group, Joyous Noise, and co-wrote much of the material on the two albums they recorded for Capitol Records.

Lee Montgomery: Recording

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"Joyous Noise" album on Capitol Records


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Laury and Lee singing together


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Laury was discovered in Chicago at age 19 by Michel Legrand, the Grammy and Oscar-winning film composer and songwriter: “The Windmills Of Your Mind”, “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?”, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?”, and “I Will Wait For You”. Legrand signed her to tour and record as his vocal soloist for almost 6 years, appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Sahara Hotel, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and the Westbury Theater. She then went on to establish herself as one of the premier vocal soloists, both onstage, in clubs, and in recording studios in Chicago and Los Angeles. She also was a soloist on many commercials for such clients as United Airlines, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, and Coors Light Beer. In 2018, Laury released a CD of her own original songs, “Time Is A Healer”, showing great talent as a songwriter and artist.

Michel Legrand and Laury Signing the famous backstage wall after her first  concert with Michel in Hartford CT.


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Laury chosen as Feature Artist of the Month on Chicago's 87.7 FM


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Laury reuniting with Michel at the "Dakota" in Minneapolis, along with bassist John Pattitucci


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Laury and Lee met in 1985 and were married in 1986. Without exaggeration, this Chicago singing couple enriched the artistic and advertising musical experiences of audiences for many years. Until the day Lee had a stroke.

In 2007, Lee suffered a major stroke, leaving him with frontal lobe damage. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, and judgement. In other words, it’s the “control panel” of the human body. It’s the last place you’d want to have lasting damage from a stroke because, over time, physical deterioration is inevitable.

Despite this, Lee recovered quite well. Though his movement was somewhat impaired, he was able to drive and get around fairly normally. However, his singing career was over. Understandably, for someone so gifted and successful, that was a devastating emotional blow. He had no choice but to announce his retirement.

Over the next several years, though it was incredibly stressful, Laury cared for Lee and continued with her career, appearing in major Chicago jazz clubs and recording several solo CDs. Lee always accompanied her to recording sessions, and she greatly valued his expert performance advice. At concerts and clubs, she would often invite Lee onstage to sing a duet with her. That was always an emotional experience for both of them, as well as for the audience which was invariably moved to tears.

By 2015, Lee’s condition had deteriorated to the point that he couldn’t get around very well, and his brain damage was becoming more evident. Eventually, he could no longer drive. He started using a cane, and then a walker.

In June, 2019, after more than 5 years of caregiving, Laury began to experience symptoms of caregiver “burnout”. She developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. As a result, she started working with a therapist. She was told that she should no longer do Lee’s caregiving by herself. So, in October, 2019, she hired an agency to provide his care seven days a week, 8 hours a day. Unfortunately, that’s been enormously expensive – $8,500 a month –  Laury used her life savings to pay these bills.

In December, 2019, Laury was stricken with a serious bowel obstruction and a perforated colon. This was a serious life-threatening event. As a result, she had an emergency surgery at Northwestern Medical Center which, though successful, required her to wear a colostomy bag for 5 months. Returning home, Laury required help from her own caregiver to recover from the surgery. For several months, this increased her caregiving costs. In addition, hospital and doctor bills from her surgery began to pile up.

In May, 2020, she had a second bowel obstruction surgery which was also successful. Fortunately, doctors were able to remove her colostomy bag at that point. Since then, she has been healing nicely, though it will take a full year for her to completely get back to her normal life, and to her singing and songwriting.

After a full year of paying monthly caregiving bills, Laury’s savings are fully depleted. She and Lee need our financial help to continue Lee’s caregiving. They’d like to stay together as long as possible, though they both know that it may be necessary for Lee to move to a nursing home eventually. But for now, our contributions will help Lee have the caregiving he needs to stay at home with Laury.

Thank you in advance for opening your heart and for any assistance you can give them.
 
—James DiPasquale
  • Olga Zemlyakova 
    • $150 
    • 49 mins
  • DIANE SALOFF 
    • $20 
    • 1 d
  • Cherryl Fonfara 
    • $100 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 3 d
  • Jeffry Mickus 
    • $100 
    • 6 d
See all

Fundraising team (4)

Larry Huerta 
Organizer
Raised $2,450 from 22 donations
Chicago, IL
Laury Shelley 
Beneficiary
James DiPasquale 
Team member
Raised $740 from 12 donations
Steve Robinson 
Team member
Raised $400 from 4 donations
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