Frank Clarkson Armstrong

June 2, 1913October 7, 2011

Frank's last days were lived as he lived the rest of his life, charming the people around him. In his later years, he was assisted by the loving care of his health care providers. There was a very special bond between Frank and his caregivers. Frank was born in New York City to Frank C. and Catharine Armstrong. He, his sister and his brother had a joyful youth spending their summers enjoying the lakes in upper New York State. After private schools in the city, he went on to Yale where he graduated in 1936. He worked as a mining engineer for seven years and then joined the U.S. Geological Society in 1934, where he worked until his retirement in 1988. He went on to get his Master's Degree from the University of Washington in 1948 and his Doctorate Degree from Stanford in 1963, both in the field of Geology. During his career, he became one of the most qualified people in the world on fissionable minerals. He was Deputy Director for Uranium and Thorium. He visited all the principle deposits in Canada, France, Yugoslavia, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa. After retirement, he taught at Fort Wright College and Washington State Community College. He survived his wife, Jean, to whom he was married for 62 years. Predeceasing him were his sister, Mary, and brother, John. He will be missed by his daughter, Dorothy; son, Rourke; his nephews, Frank Armstrong, Patrick Armstrong, Richard Armstrong and George Beck. He has two grandchildren, Charles and Brian, and two great grandchildren, Trinedy and Ally. Services will be held on November 7, 2011, 3:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Montana State University.


  • Memorial Service Monday, November 7, 2011

Frank Clarkson Armstrong

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October 25, 2011

I had the great priviledge of interviewing Frank by telephone on multiple occasions in connection with a book project. He was one of the two USGS geologists assigned to study a strategic mineral deposit (optical calcite) in Clyde Park, Montana. The calcite was used to make the Optical Ring Sight, a gunsight developed by the Polaroid Corporation. Frank's amusing anecdotes, recollection of his activities, and understanding of the geology were enormously helpful to me. He also had a reservoir of memories of the USGS in its fiscally starved, pre-war years and its expansion during the war. Beyond that, however, I enjoyed speaking with him about those days. He was engaging, thoughtful in his responses, and a joy to talk to. I shall miss him.
Larry Hughes, Memphis TN

Shane & Chelsea Clark

October 17, 2011

Frank was a dear friend of mine and a dear friend of my families. I will always remember singing la vie en rose with him, and hearing his incredible stories. He was family to us. We love you Frank, and know that you are happy now at Jean's side in heaven.

Love Shane & Chelsea Clark

October 17, 2011

My name is Joe Gallegos , My email is , I believe I knew Frank , Can someone tell me if He played Handball? I haven't seen Him in 30 years. I said to myself when I saw his face, I knew Him. Please let me know. I'm sorry to hear that He passed away, My condolence to you all, He was a Very Pleasant Man.


Anne Armstrong

October 12, 2011

My Great Uncle Frank was an amazing and facinating person. I often wish that I had more opportunity to know him, and be closer to him. My Grandfather, his brother, John Armstrong, always spoke fondly of him. While this is a sad time, I'm comforted that he, Frank and Mary are all together again.

Victoria Ingram

October 12, 2011

I only met Frank a couple of times, but it amazing what an impact he made on ones life. A very strong minded person, and he was a very kind giving person. Not just in wanting to help others, but what he gave of himself to others as well as knowledge.

Victoria Ingram (Spokane WA)

October 11, 2011

As his nephew, I was fortunate to have the benefit of his incredible knowledge and wisdom. During the last few years of his life, we would talk by phone and I always looked forward to those unique conversations. My wife, daughter and I admired him greatly and will miss him. Frank A., Cynthia and Anne Armstrong (Littleton, CO)

Patricia Ingram

October 11, 2011

Frank was a amazing man and brought so much brightness to many of our lives. I miss him and he will always be remembered. I am thankful for being able to be a part of his life. I held his hand till the end of life and a piece of him will always be holding my hand. ~Patricia Ingram~