Edmund Kelly Armistead

January 25, 1923July 12, 2012

ARMISTEAD, Edmund Kelly, of Brentwood, TN passed away on July 12, 2012. He was the son of William Woods and Clara May Kelly Armistead. He was also in the First Families of Tennessee being a descendant of James Leeper and Susan Drake. He was born January 25, 1923 in Nashville. Mr. Armistead grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He joined the Navy during World War II. He married Sarah Jane Peery in July of 1965 at McKendree Methodist Church. Mr. Armistead joined Woodmont Baptist Church and later Judson Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon.

Engineering Studies, Vanderbilt University (1942-1943) He received a B.S. in Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology in 1947. Received a Bachelor of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology in 1948. He joined Hart Freeland Roberts in 1948. He became a Partner with the firm in 1958 and later became head of the Architectural Department in 1970. He was one of the leading architects in school design until his retirement in 1993 after 45 years of design service at the firm. Many of the architectural drawings had his design flare for at least 30 years for the firm. He maintained his architectural license in most of the southern states and was a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Armistead and Elbridge B. White would have differing ideas of design occasionally. Who would win? They were both set in their thinking. Many long, sometimes loud, discussions would last for several hours in coming to an agreement as to how a project design should be approached.

He kept mostly to himself always working his sketches and redoing designs of the buildings until completion. He appeared always in deep thought. He could meet you in the aisle or hallway and never see you – he had his mind on a problem that he was attempting to solve. Many employees would comment that they had worked at the firm for years and they never knew him. He would seldom speak. He stayed in his office working on his drawing board. He never mastered the computer cad programs that replaced the hand drawings. After those begun, he had to rely on the drafters and other personnel to access drawings if he wanted to review them. This would present a problem to him that would eventually set the pattern for less involvement and therefore, his retirement.

Mr. Armistead would continue in design work long after leaving the firm. He would either draw by hand or hire cad operators for computer work. His mind was still very sharp into his late 80’s. He would be the only remaining person that remembered Mr. Hart and would be one of the speakers for the Russell E. Hart legacy at the Nashville Public Library on March 21, 2004.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, William Blair Armistead, Jr. and Elizabeth Hadley Clack Armistead; his maternal grandparents, Edmund Matthew Kelly and Clara Shiver; parents, William Woods and Clara May Kelly Armistead; sister, Betty Samuel and a nephew, George Samuel, Jr.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sarah Armistead; son, William Kelly Armistead of Franklin; granddaughter, Brianna Armistead of Goodlettsville; sisters-in-law, Bettye Peery of Nolensville and Ova Lee Sawyer of Centerville; nephews, Eddie Samuel of Brentwood, Gary (Becky) Barnhouse of Alliance, Ohio, Tommy Russell of Dallas, Texas, Keith (Kathy) Sawyer of Hermitage; nieces, Pamela (Paul) Chervenak of Alliance, Ohio, Debbie (Alan) Romero of Midlothian, Texas and Wyndy Russell of Concord, North Carolina.

A visitation with the family will be held at Brentwood Roesch-Patton Funeral Home on Sunday, July 15, 2012, from three until seven o’clock in the afternoon. The Celebration of Life Service will be held in the chapel at Brentwood Roesch-Patton Funeral Home on Monday, July 16, 2012, at twelve o’clock in the afternoon with visitation held one hour prior the service. Interment to follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, TN. Services will be conducted by Dr. Raymond Langlois and Dr. Ernest Standerfer. Memorial donations may be made to Alive Hospice of Nashville and Judson Baptist Church Building Fund.


  • Visitation Sunday, July 15, 2012
  • Funeral Service Monday, July 16, 2012

Edmund Kelly Armistead

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July 17, 2012

It was may great privilage to work for and with Ed Armistead for over 30 years. His strength of character always showed and his word was his bond.Through good times and bad he had a calm, steady at the helm demeanor and a subtle humor I'm not sure everybody got a chance to see.....A great man in word and deed.

My love and condolence to Mrs. Armistead you all made a great couple.

Michael Denney

Carol Walker

July 16, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Sarah and Bill & family. So sorry for your loss.

Bruce Spaulding, P.E.

July 16, 2012

After Ed retired, I had the privilege of working with him on several projects. Ed was a talented architect and he agonized over every detail exactly as described in his obituary. It was his intense concentration and attention to detail that led to highly successful designs, thereby avoiding many pitfalls and surprises during construction. He had a big influence on the way I now approach design problems, although I can not possibly sustain the effort he would exert on the most minute detail. He also like to discuss and debate design issues, and he would take all sides during the course of the conversation to make sure nothing was missed. When I finally saw the genius in all this I learned to enjoy the exercise. Projects we worked on together include buildings in Franklin and Parsons, TN, and probably one of the last buildings Ed designed, the notable Carl Perkins Visitor Center in Tiptonville, TN. My condolences to Sarah, Bill, and Brianna, you are in my thoughts and prayers as I remember my friend Ed.

Bruce Spaulding, P.E.

July 16, 2012

Uncle Ed was a true southern gentleman and will be greatly missed. I treasure all the wonderful memories I have of times spent with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aunt Sara, Bill, Brianna, Aunt Bettye, Aunt Ova Lee and Eddie. Love Pam and Pam Chervenak

July 16, 2012

My thoughts and prayers to Sarah and family in this time of sorrow.

Betty Holland
Jo King Circle, FPC

Thomas A. Gary, Jr.

July 15, 2012

Dear Sarah and Bill,
I am saddened by the news of Ed's passing. He was quite a gentleman. My deepest sympathy to both of you and all the others (like Ova Lee and Bettye) who knew him and loved him.

My Best, Cousin Andy Gary.

July 15, 2012

Dear Sarah & Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Your are in our thoughts and prayers.
Bill & Marlene Tarkington

Katie Fogle

July 14, 2012

Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.

I can't think of a childhood memory of Tenn that doesn't have Uncle Ed!

We'll miss you so much!

Love Katie

Wayne and Theresa Kersey

July 14, 2012

Our condolences and love to Sarah, Bill and Brianna . It was an honor to know and spend time with him. May your memories sustain you during this difficult time. Love,

Frank, Justin, Megan Brown

July 13, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers be with all the family at this time.