After moving to California, Montaño got a job with Caltrans, where she worked for nearly 20 years, until her retirement.
Although Montaño still speaks with an accent, she credits her success to learning English.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Montaño and asked her a few questions.
What brought you to the United States?
When I came to this country it was in '63, and at that time I was married. I came because my husband worked for an American company in Ecuador. They invited him over to work here, so he explained that he had family. They told him you can go over yourself and send for your family.
What was it like learning a new language?
I went to school to learn English. I went to community college in Astoria, Ore. I used my English with people, I started to have communication with them, so they helped me a lot. I started to be more sociable. It was a scary experience, moving someplace when you don't know the language.
Did you ever want to go back to Ecuador?
When I came, really I didn't like it over here, honest to God. I cried a lot. My husband said if you don't like it you have to go back. He said I will by you a ticket and send you back to Ecuador. Anyhow, after six months, somebody told me that this is an experience, you have to learn, and give it a little time, you will progress. I said, I will try. Then, I got pregnant with my boy. So, I said I had to stay here.
Was there anything that was shocking when you came to the United States?