February 9, 1915February 8, 2011

Juanita Armayor died in The Residences at Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C. the 8th of February 2011 at the age of 95 and 364 days. Mrs. Armayor was born in 1915 into a Pennsylvania-Dutch Indiana farm family south of Peru, which she never knew as the home-town of Cole Porter well into adulthood though surrounded by the piano music of her sister Phyllis and the cornet music of her father. As a small girl she was often spared the routine chores of the farm in honour of her dreamy sweetness and reading, her poetry, her art, and her excellent schoolwork. (She was made to skip the 8th grade.) She was a true child of the Great Depression. Her father was never a good businessman and when crop prices fell in the late 20’s he was forced to sell the family farm in 1928 and move the family to Detroit, where he unhappily worked in maintenance at the Henry Ford hospital while she became an art student at Northwestern High School, Wayne State University, and the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts. She had joined and supported the Epworth League as a girl and met Oliver Armayor from Key West in 1930 at Strathmoor Methodist Church Epworth League meetings in Detroit. They often went dancing together at the Grande Ballroom, sometimes to the music of legendary bandleaders such as Henry Busse and Ben Bernie. After two years of courtship Oliver proposed though he had lost his job several months earlier and had to return to Key West in 1932 to work with his contractor father. They wrote to one another for years on end before they were formally engaged in 1936 when Oliver joined the Civil Service at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. They were married in the pastor’s study of First Methodist Church of Pensacola in February 1937 and listened to a restaurant band play “Stardust” that evening. Her son Kimball was christened in the same Methodist church soon after his birth in mid-December 1939. Especially after moving to Miami in 1940 and even at the expense of her art she gave everything to her home and husband and three children. Judith Rose was born in November 1941 and Beverly Joyce in September 1943, and even though she later came to be well-known as a local artist and art-teacher in Jacksonville, Florida and frequently exhibited her portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes locally, there was never a question of priorities. She was first and foremost a wife and mother and homemaker. In 1965 Mr. Armayor was struck down in his prime by retinal detachments which rendered him legally blind, but a loving Nita learned to drive in her 50’s and nursed him back to active life and service in Jacksonville. She was a loyal Methodist from girlhood and the Armayors became founders of Wesconnett Methodist Church, holding almost every lay position there over some 50 years till they were overcome by age and ill-health. After 71 years of marriage Oliver died in December 2008. She loved music and art and dogs and all children. She showed selfless love and true religion to all who knew her. She was utterly without malice and completely unselfish. Her parents, Jesse and Rosetta Cripe, an elder brother, Russel Cripe, and sister, Phyllis Cripe Meyer pre-deceased her. A belovéd younger daughter, Beverly Joyce Armayor Moller, died in 2004. She is survived by her son Oliver Kimball Armayor of Eutaw, Alabama, and his wife Mary Ann; her daughter Judith Rose Armayor Smith of Washington, D.C. and her husband Dane; her daughter Beverly’s husband Herb, seven grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. Funeral services were to be held at 2 PM on Saturday, Feb. 19th, 2011, at Wesconnett United Methodist Church, 5630 Wesconnett Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida 32244, with a reception at the church immediately following interment beside her husband at Riverside Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family asks for memorial contributions to Wesconnett United Methodist Church (address above) or the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, 1800 Johnson St., Baltimore, MD, 21230.

Arrangements entrusted to Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, 5753 Blanding Blvd., 904-777-5727. Condolences may be shared at


  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 19, 2011


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February 21, 2011

Dear Armayor family, How lovely and precious the service was for your Mother, I truly felt it an honor being there to share with you all in your sweet memories of such a great lady. Again I am so sorry for this loss in your lives. Hold onto those sweet and dear memories; and never forget that God is bigger than even more than we can imagine. You are in His care as you walk this valley, you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your time with me. It was so wonderful getting to meet so many of you and seeing the dear ones who were the family members of my very first art teacher. I will never forget Mrs Armayor and will always charish my time as her student and her friend. With deepest sympathy, Nancy Holt Justus

Rebecca Box-Yechiav

February 20, 2011

I'm so saddened to hear about the passing of Mrs. Armayor. I have such fond memories of her especially from taking art classes she gave to a bunch of us neighborhood kids. She always had her fresh-baked oatmeal cookies and Koolaid punch ready for us and made all of us feel so special and like burgeoning Van Goghs. She had such a gentle and sweet spirit and will be greatly missed.

Randy Danielson

February 19, 2011

What a special and wonderful woman who lived a full life, always thinking of others. I grew up on Autlan Drive and thought the world of Mrs. Armayor.

Darryl Hardin

February 17, 2011

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. This was the most lovingly written and informative obituary I have ever read.

Ellen Moon

February 17, 2011

Hello Dr. Armayor,
I am very sorry for your loss. What I read about "Nita", well, she had a wonderful life and I know that you are very proud of her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Ellen Moon (I'm the assistant in History)