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John "Jack" Armstrong
17 avril 1936 – 27 juillet 2020
John “Jack” Armstrong, the All- American Boy
John “Jack” Hallsten Armstrong, 84, of Winter Park, FL, passed away Monday, July 27, 2020 at the Orlando Lutheran Towers.
Jack was preceded in death by his sister, Joan Edwards; and brother William “Sparky” Armstrong. He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 59 years, Barbara (Orlando, FL); Children, Amy Armstrong (Alexandria, VA), John (Darleen) Armstrong (Manassas, VA); and grandchildren, Mark, Jason, and Heidi Armstrong.
Jack was born at home on April 17, 1936 in Geneseo, IL to parents William and Mildred Armstrong. At a young age, Jack was given his nickname from a radio program entitled, “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.” He lived up to the wholesome, cereal-loving, astute athlete that the program showcased. At Geneseo High School, he served as senior class president and excelled in sports, including basketball, football, and track. He then earned a Bachelor of Science Education degree from Northern Illinois University in 1958.
Jack met his future wife, Barbara VerStraete, at the VFW in the fall of 1960. On a date a few months later, they were involved in a serious head-on car accident. During the road to recovery, the two grew closer and were married June 3, 1961 at Saint Anthony’s Rectory, Atkinson, IL.
After 8 years as a science teacher and coach at Erie High School and Sterling Newman High School in Illinois, Jack was awarded a scholarship from the National Science Foundation to earn a Master's Degree. With his wife and two young children (Amy and John), they moved into married student housing at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. After completing his Masters, he pressed on at OSU and graduated as a Doctor in Education in 1970.
Jack then chose the path less traveled and opted to accept a position as a professor at the very new Florida Technological University in Orlando, FL. For the next 28 years, Jack taught science education there and served as Assistant Dean in the College of Education. Throughout his tenure there, the university expanded tremendously and changed its name to the University of Central Florida. As an early-riser, Jack stayed fit intellectually and physically. He was an avid reader of books and newspapers (often fetching the paper as it was being delivered). He was also a beloved facetious fixture of the neighborhood, mowing his lawn early on Saturday mornings so he could then kick back and watch his neighbors work. Even after he suffered a stroke in 2000, he walked his dogs (his favorite being a golden retriever named Otto); he biked regularly; and he exercised regularly at the YMCA. The stroke left him unable to speak, which led him to pursue help with his communication at the UCF Aphasia House for 18 years. He once described his disability by noting, “I am not a victim.”
Jack was devoted to God, his family ... and his favorite sports teams (especially the Orlando Magic). He was a faithful member of Saint Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, FL for 48 years. He was also a dedicated leader of his family (shepherding them to church, drawing them to further their education, prompting them to become better people, ... and escorting them to Disney World the second day it opened.). His son at age 5 once asked, “Dad, what is the most important credit card in your wallet?” Jack pointed and replied, “The picture of my family.”
The family plans to bury Jack’s remains at Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo, IL in July 2021.
Memorial donations may be made in tribute to Jack to The Aphasia House Fund at UCF at https://www.ucffoundation.org/givetochps, or checks may be made payable to UCF Foundation, Attn: Jennifer Wolf, Aphasia House, 12424 Research Pkwy #250, Orlando Florida 32826 with Jack’s name in the memo.
The dashing, twinkle-eyed, quick-witted quipster, Jack, will be missed by the many people whom he made smile.
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John "Jack" Armstrong
Phillip and Betty Moens
18 septembre , 2020
Jack and Barbara were very special friends of ours - We knew them both when Jack and Phil were teaching in Erie, Ill., I knew Jack from Geneseo High School where he was an upper classman. They were a super couple and had wonderful little children when they left Erie to go on to bigger and better places. WE were so very, very sorry to learn of Jack's passing, but know he is in a much better place now. Our love and prayers go out to Barb and Amy and John. We know Jack loved them dearly, and that he will be watching over them. Please take care of yourselves. We now live in Geneseo (again) after 60 years in Erie, so if there is anything we can do for you when you come up - just let us know. Love, and Prayers, Betty and Phil Moens
14 septembre , 2020
I was so sorry to learn of Jack's passing. I was an instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UCF when Jack served as Chairman/Dean. He was such a kind, supportive colleague with a quick sense of humor. I always had the utmost respect for him. My deepest sympathy goes to his wife, children, and grandchildren.
13 septembre , 2020
Jack was and will always be a true friend. We shared many stories about special events at UCF. He often stopped to visit as he biked on a Saturday morning.
13 septembre , 2020
Jack was part of the early facilty at FTU/UCF. We did a lot of work as new facutly at a new university....Long days and many long nights when we had to register students for classes and we really did not have the technology to make it easy....all by hand.....
We worked hard, laughed a lot, "grew up" as professors.....We partied, we taught, we had fun.....I have great memories of that time.
Blessings to his family!
13 septembre , 2020
Dr. John Armstrong enjoy your new adventure.
Jack and I enjoyed each other for 21 years while we lived in the same neighborhood. We would spend Saturdays getting in trouble in the neighborhood after I got finished cutting my grass (or as Jack would say “In France that called mowing the lawn”) he would walk 2 feet behind me cause he was already done with his. ( ha,ha). What great times we had. Our hearts goes out to Barbara and the family which I watch grow up. My GOD BLESS and keep you.
Love to all,
Bill and Susan Krienke
7 août , 2020
I am so very sorry for Jack's passing. I loved his, "No, no, now's!" Thank you for keeping us informed.
Stay strong Barb. You have "family" outside of your family! Reach out if needed!