Del KeyDel Key played an instrumental role in the lives of untold numbers of Missoula kids. While a relative newcomer to the area, having moved to Missoula only six years ago, his time here made a big impact.

He spent hours upon hours at Russell Elementary School, where he volunteered in several different capacities. Del Key was especially irreplaceable in the school’s homework club. And he also volunteered at other organizations around town, including the Missoula Food Bank and Missoula Aging Service.

But it was his work at Russell that earned him the statewide honor of being named Montana Mentor of the Year.

Last Friday, Jan. 21, Del Key died at St. Patrick Hospital, and all of Montana is poorer for this loss.