Larry D. Armstrong Sr. (1939 - 2011)

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(News article) A former chairman of criminal justice and fire science technologies at what is now Owens Community College and a retired Toledo police captain, Larry D. Armstrong, Sr., died Wednesday in Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, Ind., of a stroke. He was 71.

Mr. Armstrong, formerly of South Toledo, retired about 2000 from Owens, said his son Larry, Jr., a Toledo fire lieutenant. He began at Owens in December, 1991, as he retired from his police career.

The college "needed someone who would give the program an infusion of new ideas," his son said. Mr. Armstrong was working on a master's of public administration degree from the University of Toledo, which he would receive in 1993.

"He had ideas," his son said. "He had a gift of being able to lead and motivate people."

In his tenure at Owens, the college dedicated a regional law enforcement training center, where Toledo police has had its academy since the 1970s. Police and fire professionals offered their expertise to safety forces in training.

"He was responsible for really bolstering those programs into what they are now, serving both Toledo fire and police and many area departments," his son said.

Mr. Armstrong was a salesman for Hershey's Chocolate, calling on area supermarkets, when he responded to a city advertisement asking for police applicants. He joined the force in 1963. As a patrol officer, he was a member of the accident investigation squad.

"When he came home, he was oftentimes tired, and they were long days," his son said, "but he didn't talk a lot about work. That insulated his family from the stuff he faced on the street."

He was promoted to lieutenant in 1978, and his assignments included community affairs. He was promoted to captain in 1982. He commanded the personnel and fiscal affairs section and, later, was in charge of the property management section.

In 1987, Mr. Armstrong was among five command officers who interviewed before a screening panel to replace Chief John Mason, who retired.

"He was a consummate professional," his son said. "He really took pride in what he did. He thought he could contribute to the safety of the city He felt he had good ideas and methodology to go along with those ideas."

Ultimately, Marti Felker was promoted to chief.

Mr. Armstrong was born in Dayton and grew up on a farm in Williams County. He was a graduate of Edon High School and the FBI National Academy. He had a bachelor's degree from UT.

Surviving are his wife, Kay, whom he married April 19, 1958; daughters, Kristi Armstrong and Kelly Flanagan; sons, Larry, Jr., and Kevin; sisters, Pat Hay, Shirley Tibbs, and Linda Welmer; 10 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Beams Funeral Home, Fremont, Ind., where visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday. The family suggests tributes to the Clear Lake Land Conservancy.

Contact Blade staff writer Mark Zaborney at mzaborney@theblade.com.
Published in Toledo Blade on Mar. 31, 2011
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