HAMPTON - Colonel Lorraine F. "Armie" Armstrong Jr. passed away Nov. 13, 2012, at the age of 93, from pulmonary complications. He was born in Houston, Texas to Lorraine and Clifford Armstrong in 1919.|
Armie was preceded in death by his wife, Alene Bennett McGolrick Armstrong, in 2008, and by his son, Patrick Armstrong, in 2011.
He is survived by his daughter, Suzanne Armstrong Bingham, and her children, Paige DeCosta and Blaire Bingham and son Patrick's children, Allyson Whittington, Trish Matthes, Lauren Armstrong MacEwen; granddaughter, Sarah Whittington; niece, Marie Ford Boring; and grandniece, Shelby Ford.
Not long after his birth, the Armstrong family settled in San Antonio, and lived seasonally on their ranch in Sequin, Texas. Armie graduated from Sequin High School where he played sports, lettering in tennis and football. He then enrolled and attended Texas Lutheran College, graduating in 1939. At the age of 20, he began Army Air Corps pilot training, completing the Advanced Pilot Training School in 1940, and quickly became a seasoned pilot before the United States entered into WWII. During this time, in 1941, he married Francelle "Boots" Parmiter, with whom he had his two children, Patrick and Suzanne.
During the war, Armie served in the North Africa and Southern European Theatre assigned to the 434th Bomber Squadron, 12th Bomb Group, nicknamed the Earthquakes. He flew B-25s and became a squadron commander at 25. Armie flew 71 combat missions, though the standard rotation was 35 missions. Upon his promotion to major and return to the states during the war, he trained new pilots and ferried planes. These planes included: B-26s, B-25s, A-20s, A-26s and P-61s, to name a few. For his service as part of America's Greatest Generation, Armie received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, nine Air Medals, an Air Force Citation, and the European Campaign Ribbon including six campaign stars, among others. Later in his military career, he was presented the Legion of Merit Decoration for his Exceptional Meritorious Conduct in Performance of Outstanding Services and Achievements during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. He also coordinated the logistics for the first airbase in Vietnam. While stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Armie retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1968 as a full colonel.
Following his retirement, he accepted a position with Sperry Rand, in Long Island, N.Y. After two years, he decided to return to Newport News to complete his education at Christopher Newport College, becoming a computer programmer in the early days of main frame computers. Upon graduation, he took a position with Leiber America, a construction equipment manufacturing company, where he served as the manager of the Data Processing Center. At the age of 62 he fully retired and enjoyed a life of sailing the Chesapeake Bay. He enjoyed the freedom of the water and a rich and full life.
At the young age of 79, Armie started socially seeing longtime friend, Alene McGoldrick and they eventually married in 2000. They spent the next eight years traveling, sailing, and enjoying life together before Alene passed away in 2008.
Armie Armstrong was an amazing person, a gentle, kind, caring man, and a wonderful father, husband, grandfather and friend. He contributed so much in life with his many talents; he loved to fly and loved to sail, whether on the sea or in the air. His strong and determined spirit will always be with his family and loved ones, as he embarked on his last sail to the heavens.
The family wishes expressions of sympathy to take the form of contributions to Habitat for Humanity, (serving Hampton, James City Co., Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York Co.), P.O. Box 1443, Newport News, VA 23601, 757-596-5553, www.habitat.pgw.org, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A funeral service will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home in Hampton. Immediately following the services, the family will receive friends until 4:30 p.m. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Arrangements are by R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Ave., in Hampton, 757-723-3191. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.
Published in Daily Press from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17, 2012