JoAnn Armstrong (1928 - 2017)

Obituary
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Our beloved mother, JoAnn Armstrong, died peacefully at her home in Dillingham, Alaska on Aug. 17, 2017, with her family and her little dog, Minnie, close by. JoAnn was born Oct. 26, 1928 in Shelbyville, Ind., to Daniel Jacob Siefert and Helena Klare Ferris Siefert. She attended Immaculate Conception Academy, St. Vincent Hospital and Franklin College and became a registered nurse.

JoAnn came to Dillingham in March of 1955 to work as a nurse at Kanakanak Hospital. Despite the challenges, JoAnn loved Dillingham from the moment she arrived. She married Richard Armstrong on Oct. 29, 1956, and they had six children. She cherished her family and her friends. JoAnn was a devoted partner in marriage and business. Dick and JoAnn owned and operated Armstrong Air Service from 1957-1988. She loved their air service and the people they flew and the people who worked for them. One of the reasons that JoAnn had originally chosen to move to Dillingham was the local Holy Rosary Mission. Unfortunately, the Mission burned down just a few days after her arrival. She was admired for her tenacity in advocating for the Mission School and it was rebuilt and expanded. At its peak, the school had about 50 students. Sadly, the school closed in 1962; but, the church remained a firm foundation in her life. Mom had an uncommon generosity for others. Regularly, we would come home from school to find two or three kids whom she had fed and bathed. We lived next door to the school and she often tended to the cuts, scrapes, bruises and knocked-out teeth suffered by the local kids.

JoAnn lived a full and rich life which included nursing, raising kids, managing the air taxi business, commercial fishing, gardening, picnics, camping at "Gram's Cabin," berry picking, travelling and buying and restoring houses. She loved to read, sew-making many of her children's clothes- and do craft work, upholstery and quilting. She baked sixteen loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls weekly! JoAnn fulfilled her civic duty as well, serving on the planning commission, public utilities board, school board and the historic society. Our mom was independent, compassionate, kind, loyal and faithful and had a positive impact on many people. She will be greatly missed by anyone who was fortunate to know her. JoAnn was preceded in death by her mother, Helena; father, Daniel; brother, Richard; son, Ross; and husband, Richard. She is survived by her children and their families: Curt & Joyce Armstrong, Daniel, Chrisy, Katelyn, Nicholas & Lukas Armstrong, Breck Armstrong & Akoni Kristovich, Megan Armstrong & Preston, Arriana, Elayne, Coral, Ryder & Aubree Woods, Ross & Connor Armstrong; Janet Armstrong Schlagel and Tom Schlagel, Cade & Cole Schlagel; Allie & Rick Tennyson, Bethany, Logan, Melany & Ckeahlis Branstitter, Chad, Noelle & Elliot Mae Tennyson, Reed & Bryn Tennyson; Rosanne & Daniel Savo, Lark & Dan, Daisy, Carl & Jazmine VanBlarcom, Ryan & Chasen Savo, William, Heidi, Michaela & Emily JoAnn Savo, Daniel & Valerie Savo, Craig, Izabelle, Harper & Alyce Savo, Bruce & Kenneth Savo and Nora, John & Kenzie Lee Johnson. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law & their spouses, Lynn & Lyle Freedman and Arlyn & Jim Stein; brother-in-law & spouse, Milton & Sue Armstrong and John Armstrong; nieces, Lori Hoffman, Vanessa Freedman, Michaela, Kelsey & Laurel Stein; and nephews, John Siefert & Matthew Freedman.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton in Anchorage and at 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, at Holy Rosary Church in Dillingham.

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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Aug. 22, 2017