SOUTH POINT — Robert E. (Bob) Armstrong, 73, legendary father, grandfather, friend, community leader and the mayor of South Point, died Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, at King’s Daughters Medical Center after suffering heart failure while working at home. He and his surviving wife of 52 years, Patty Justice Armstrong, are well known for the work they have done in the community, and for their frequent visits to people confined to their homes, hospitals or care facilities.
A printer at the Ashland Daily Independent from 1964 until his retirement in 1998, Bob was an active member of the First Southern Baptist Church in South Point. The Armstrong home overlooking the Ohio River and the Big Sandy at the southern tip of Ohio was a joyous family home for Bob, Patty and their children and their families – son Brian and wife Wendy and their children, Christopher and Alyssa Armstrong, of Seville, Ohio; daughter Lee Ann Chapman and husband John and their daughter Allison, of Chesapeake; and son Rodney and wife Crystal and their children, Alexis, Taylor and Hunter Armstrong, of Mount Sterling, Ohio.
Bob is also survived by his brother, Kenneth (Ann), and two sisters, Mary Ann Laber and Nancy (Mike) Corn, all of Ironton; and several nieces and nephews.
The son of the late F. Earl and Rosella Hiermer Armstrong, Bob was a graduate of Ironton High School. He was honorably discharged from the United States Army Reserves, 455th Artillery Battalion, March 18, 1963.
Bob had been a councilman on the South Point Village Council for the past 34 years, and became mayor in February after the death of the previous mayor, Bill Gaskin. The two had served on the council together since their election in 1976. He was active in AARP and the Sybene Senior Center, and did the church’s ministry for shut-ins, taking audio tapes of the sermons around to the sick and elderly shut-in members every Sunday.
“Dad was totally dedicated to his family,” Rodney said. “We live near Columbus, about two and a half hours away, and sometimes at the weekend here would come Dad and Mom, rolling up into the driveway. He would say ‘Guess we made a wrong turn and somehow we ended up here.’ He took every opportunity to get up to spend time with us.”
Brian, Lee Ann and Rodney all have happy memories of camping with relatives at local lakes when they were young, and later, after having their own families, many outings, picnics and holidays at their parents’ South Point home.
“Dad was always helping people, from giving blood to lending a hand with repairs at their homes,” Lee Ann said. “He had many devoted friends as well. And wherever we were, he was always the one who was designated to say our prayer before every meal. He had the patience of Job – and the older he got, the more patience he seemed to have.”
He was also a super fan of granddaughter Allison Chapman, the award-winning All-Ohio softball player – the only Chesapeake High School athlete to ever reach the pinnacle of being All-State four years straight. Bob attended all her games and cheered his granddaughter with great spirit. They also frequently traveled to Rodney and Crystal’s home to watch his grandchildren there race their quarter-midget racing cars. His favorite spot was in the pit area with his family.
A beloved member of the community since 1967, Bob was honored with a moment of silence and an idle chrome shovel at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for South Point’s $2.4 million transfer center at The Point Industrial Park – an event in which he had planned to participate.
Other community and business leaders lauded him for his integrity, honesty, commitment, selflessness and kindness. Pat Leighty, village administrator, called him “the quiet giant.”
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Tracy Brammer Funeral Home with burial in Woodland Cemetery. Visitation at the funeral home will be Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made locally to the American Heart Association, Charleston Metro, 162 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25301, or the Alzheimer’s Association, WV Chapter, 1111 Lee Street, Charleston, WV 25301