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Welcome to the memorial page for

Richard Montali

January 17, 1939 ~ May 27, 2018 (age 79)

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Richard J. Montali, DVM, Dipl. ACVP, Dipl. ACZM, of Maryland, passed from this life on Sunday, May 27, 2018, at Frederick Memorial Hospital. Born on January 17, 1939, in New London, CT, he was the son of Americo Montali and Ann N. Carboni (neé Donahue). His great love of animals, especially horses, led him to pursue a pre-veterinary track at the University of Connecticut. He went on to graduate from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1964 and, after several years in practice, became a resident in comparative medicine and pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. He found his career calling as Chief Veterinary Pathologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C., becoming one of the first full-time zoo pathologists in the country.  

Considered to be one of the founders of modern investigative zoological pathology, Dr. Montali was responsible for countless contributions to the field of zoo and wildlife medicine during his 29-year career at the National Zoo and afterward. He made a profound impact on the advancement of animal care sciences and authored hundreds of papers and publications with significant implications for zoological medicine. His areas of research were vast and extensive, with particular focuses on the infectious diseases of carnivores, including red pandas, giant pandas, new world primates, and ungulates (especially elephants and black rhinoceros). 

Those who knew him personally can attest to his influence and contributions around the globe. He provided residency training for numerous veterinarians, for whom he was a great mentor and leader. He worked closely with the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, providing training for residents in the National Zoo’s diagnostic and research pathology program. He received multiple awards for his work, including the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians’ Emily P. Dolensek Award, the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ Distinguished Member Award and the American College of Zoological Medicine’s Murray Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award. 


Dr. Montali lived in Maryland since 1965. He married and fathered two children in the northern Montgomery County area. He was an accomplished horseman who loved to compete in dressage and eventing. He enthusiastically rode with the Goshen Hounds through the 1970s and 80s. He was a founding member of the Maryland Dressage and Combined Training Assn. and was a member of the Potomac Valley Dressage Association for many years. After retirement, he took up water sports and particularly loved wind surfing and paddle boarding.

Country Meadows in Frederick, Maryland, was Dr. Montali’s last home where he was treated with great respect and loving care by the staff of the Alzheimer’s unit. He is survived by his son Michael J. Montali of San Francisco; his daughter Natalie Montali Crow, grandson Leo Crow, and son-in-law Barney Crow of Los Angeles; and his sister, Sally Carboni of New London, CT. Friends Patricia Lasko and Tom McCabe regularly cared for him during his last years. A celebration of his life journey will include a memorial mass at St. Joseph on-Carrollton-Manor Catholic Church in Frederick, MD on Saturday, June 23, at 10 a.m. with lunch to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made for a memorial bench in his honor offered by the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park.  Please send checks in any amount to Michael Montali, 413 Bowdoin St., San Francisco, CA 94134 and write “zoo bench” on the check. Expressions of sympathy may be offered to the family at

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