Joe Edwin Armstrong
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Aka: Bill, Arky, Papa Joe. 7/23/27-5/13/10. Joe died at his home near Healdsburg, CA. He's survived by his wife Karen; and three children from an earlier marriage: Keith (San Jose), Donna (Albany, NY), Shelly Albertson (Santa Rosa) and her husband Doug; and granddaughters Rachel (NY) and Avery (Santa Rosa). Also two sisters, Christine Shope and Betty Blake; and many nieces and nephews. Joe grew up in Arkansas the son of a Methodist preacher and the eighth of nine kids. At 17 he enlisted in Navy pilot school and flew Corsairs - a time of great pride, many stories, and a fiery near-death accident landing on his aircraft carrier in bad weather. He married Addis Allene Wright in 1950, attended University of Texas on the GI bill, and earned a PhD in electrical engineering. In the 1960s Joe managed labs in San Jose for Sylvania EDL, then helped start ESL, Inc. Later he joined the US Nat'l Security Agency. By the 1970s he was a divorced professor of engineering at San Jose State, earned his MA in Ancient History, and married Marilyn Duffey. In the late 1970s Joe worked for Stanford Research Inst, and they relocated to Northern CA to establish his Homestead dream. By 1981 he had become part-time SSU faculty, where for over 20 years he taught Energy Management & Design. About this time his first book was published, "Tales of a Fledgling Homestead," which describes their back-to-nature efforts to tame the rugged 12-acre hillside property. In 1987 he married his present wife, Karen Urke-Wegener. They soon began building their handcrafted, passive solar home, with its panoramic views, sunny setting, and elegant design. Besides his numerous writing activities, Joe's other retirement pastimes included literary editorship, folk dancing, guitar playing, song writing, storytelling, and CA farming, notably organic fruits, veggies and wine. During this past year Joe rededicated himself to the study of ancient water clock technology. A gathering will be held on Saturday, June 12th at 2:00 p.m.

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Published in Press Democrat from May 21 to May 24, 2010.