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John Alexander Armstrong Jr.

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John Alexander Armstrong Jr. Obituary

John Alexander Armstrong Jr. died on Feb. 23, 2010, at San Marco Terrace.

He was born in St. Augustine on May 4, 1922, the first of three children for Maria Virginia Hernandez of St. Augustine and John A. Armstrong of Jacksonville. He attended public schools in Jacksonville, graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in 1940.

Summers were often spent in St. Augustine, where his maternal grandparents, Henry E. Hernandez and Alice Markle owned the Ocean View Hotel.

After a short course at Massey"s Business College, he worked for the Florida Dry Cleaning and Laundry Board and, later, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, while saving money for college. He began studies at the University of Chicago in 1942 but was inducted in the Army in November, serving with the 514th Engineer Depot in Liege, Belgium, during 1944-45.

He earned the Ph.B. and MA degrees from Chicago, then returned to Europe in 1949 as a member of the university"s mission to the University of Frankfurt, Germany. In 1950 he enrolled at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in public law and government and the Certificate of the Russian Institute in 1953.

Research for his dissertation on "Ukrainian Nationalism during World War II" involved interviews with Ukrainians, Germans and other participants, as well as analysis of German documents. This was published in 1955, with new editions in 1963 and 1990.

Other books were "Ideology, Politics, and Government in the Soviet Union," "Soviet Partisans in World War II," "The Soviet Bureaucratic Elite," "The Politics of Totalitarianism," "The European Administrative Elite" and "Nations before Nationalism."

In addition, he wrote numerous articles and reviews and served on various academic and governmental committees.

He made many research trips to the Soviet Union and lived in France, Germany and England; but his preferred destinations were Mediterranean cities, where he enjoyed photographing early Christian mosaics and Islamic architecture.

Professor Armstrong taught at the University of Denver, Columbia University and, for 32 years, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, from which he retired in 1986. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and various professional organizations, including the American Association for Slavic Studies, of which he was a past president.

As a tour guide at the Cathedral Basilica, he emphasized the historical development of Catholicism in Northeast Florida.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday at Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, the Rev. Andy Blaszkowski, Parochial Vicar, officiating. Burial in San Lorenzo Cemetery.

He married Annette Taylor in 1952. They have three daughters, Janet (David Blau), Carol (Terry Wilkins) and Kathryn (Vladimir Oustimovitch); three grandchildren: Kathryn, Michael and Jack; his brother, Henry E. Armstrong; and numerous cousins. His sister, Alicia Ransom, is deceased.

Craig Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Park is in charge of the arrangements.

Published in St. Augustine Record from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28, 2010
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