Robert "Bob" Armstrong

Robert "Bob" Charles Armstrong

Bob Armstrong passed away after a heart attack Friday September 20 at his home in San Francisco on the slopes of Mt Sutro.

Bob was born in Elkhart Indiana on June 13 1920 and his life was a long and rich one. He spent his early years in Indiana with his sister, Hellen (Pettit), and his parents Musetta and Harold ("H. E.") Armstrong

His father was a career postman and collected stamps, a hobby that Bob thoroughly enjoyed and took to a whole new level over 80 years of collecting.

As a member of the Greatest Generation he served in the Army, seeing action in Germany and France at the end of WWII. He received many commendations but was a modest man and never brought attention to his war time achievements.

Bob was an Army Private with the 417th Infantry (Company C) when he witnessed the horror of Buchenwald immediately after the camp was liberated. He never forgot what he saw there - the inhumanity, discrimination, and intolerance it embodied - and how it was completely contrary to the American Way.

Bob reached the rank of Staff Sargent and was in Japan and Korea before leaving the Army. He eventually moved to San Francisco, the city he grew to love so much.

In the mid-1950s, Bob met his life partner Gerald "Jerry" Levinson ( and soon the two were sharing a home and their lives together. They spent 52 happy years as partners until Jerry's passing after an extended illness in July 2008.

Bob worked for many years at Wilson Sporting Goods. He came to know several sports greats in SF during his time at Wilson and was a long time Giants fan.

Bob was a gentle soul who was greatly admired by all who knew him. His quiet demeanor and genteel manner were from an age that has sadly passed.

Bob is survived by his relatives in Michigan: Nieces Joellene Bates and Judie Morris and nephews Larry Pettit and Jim Pettit, along with numerous great nieces and nephews.

He will be deeply missed by his dedicated caretaker and long-time friend Javier Jimenez and Javier's partner Robert Van Houten. Bob's family thanks Javier for his steadfast assistance to Bob which allowed him to remain in his home until the end.

Others who will miss him greatly are his dear friend of 55 years, Juanita Peterson and her children Alan, Nick, and Katrina (Hallam). Juanita, along with her husband, Don Peterson (deceased) were both classmates of Jerry Levinson at the University of Washington.

Bob was interned at The Columbarium (Neptune Society) along with his beloved Jerry within view of Mt Sutro and in the middle of the city he loved. Family and friends thank caretaker Emmitt Watson for his kind assistance during Bob's internment and also for the flowers from his garden.

Rest in peace dear friend and much loved uncle. Thank you for your service to our country. The memory of your smile and kindness will live on in those who were honored to know you.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 20, 2013