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Glenn Ardell Armstrong

Glenn Ardell Armstrong Obituary
Glenn Ardell Armstrong

May 11, 1927 ~ August 2, 2019

Glenn Ardell Armstrong, beloved father, grandfather, and great grandfather passed away Friday evening at home in Sequim surrounded by his multi-generational family at 92. The youngest of three boys, he was born in Spokane, WA to Myrtle & Dell Ford Armstrong. At the age of 5, he lost his leg in a train trolley accident and never let the disability slow him down. At 15, Glenn attempted to enlist in the army after the outbreak of WW2; of course, he was declared ineligible due to age and loss of his leg below the knee. In 1945, he and his mother moved to Seattle, where he served as a house boy at a UW sorority where his mom was a chef. As far as we know, he never attended UW classes, but had attended WSU briefly. Dad was bound at a young age to look after his Mom. Family was held as his first priority. His mother outlived his brothers, Craig and Bob, leaving Glenn and his wife to be her sole support until her passing at the age of 97.

In spite of his wooden leg, he entered the construction trades as an apprentice plasterer. After WW2, the housing boom that ensued demanded quicker ways to build homes and drywall was fast replacing plaster as the standard. Glenn saw the opportunity and, with his first partner, Scotty, started a drywall company from the trunk of Glenn's 1943 Buick. Glenn and partners Bob Harvey, Bob Willy, Gordy Stockholm went on to create Mechanical Drywall, which, at its peak, employed 120 tapers and hangers and was one of the largest drywall contracting firms on the west coast. Glenn and partners Jim Berry and John Nelson also started a drywall supply company-Colonial Supply, having 3 locations in the greater Seattle area. In 1960, he married his bride of 59 years, Betty Lou (Piekenbrock) Armstrong. Together they raised three children Peggy, Lisa & Craig.

After 30 years in drywall contracting, he switched core businesses and become a land developer / spec home builder. Declaring he was "tired of being a caboose and wanted to be the engine," he partnered with Bill Renn to form Cornerstone Construction Inc. and Northshore Properties LLC. They built homes 8 years in the Woodinville, WA area, successfully building up to 16 homes a year on property they purchased, short platted and constructed. They believed in Woodinville's potential when most saw it as an inappreciable outpost. Glenn and Bill purchased large pieces of property at the city core, built office complexes and held the property for later development. In 1980, Glenn, semi-retired, became an investor with Peter Henning, et al., and developed office buildings/warehouse complexes in unincorporated Totem Lake, now part of Kirkland, WA.

Glenn and Betty moved from Seattle to Bothell in 1963, raised their family and were active members of the burgeoning community. In 1983 they built a lovely home in Woodinville, at the Bear Creek Country Club. Glenn was still active in his investments, but had plenty of time to golf and travel. In 2000, he and Betty moved to Sequim to be near their son, Craig. They were members of Sunland Golf Course and loved the sunny, peaceful pace of Sequim.

Glenn was a planner and would often say, "Make a plan, stick to the plan whenever possible, change the plan if necessary, but always have a plan." I remember a conversation in 2004, where he very proudly told me he'd divested all of his real estate holdings, save his primary residence. I didn't really understand why he did this, even though he explained his reason - he was planning to get old and wanted a secure retirement, without complications. At this point, he was truly retired. Glenn was a teacher to any who would listen; two of his favorite sayings were: "Take care of the little things and the big things will fall into place," and "It's not how much you make that counts, it's how much you save and give that matters."

Glenn's greatest strength came from his commitment to people in his life - strength, virtue, and caring. When he cared for you, he really cared. It did not matter who you were, i.e., family, friend, business partner, employee, cab driver, server, professional, or just the person on the street. I never once knew of my Dad not sticking to his word and not giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. Glenn had a gift for sizing people up. Nearly all his partnerships were successful and if something was not working, they would change their plan and move on. He became interested in genealogy and a friend, Linda Kestner, helped determine his father's ancestry. The Armstrong Family Crest motto is Invictus Maneo, which translates to Always Strong, gave him great pride and is how Glenn lived his life to the end.

Glenn is survived by loving wife, Betty Lou Armstrong; son, Craig (Lora) Armstrong (Sequim), daughter Peggy (Craig) Coulson (Bothell), and daughter, Lisa Dolan

Dolan (Lynnwood), 9 grand-children, and three great grandchildren. He was incredibly proud of his family and they will miss him immensely.
Published in The Seattle Times from Aug. 13 to Aug. 14, 2019
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