April 17, 1936 – July 27, 2020
Jack Armstrong, the All- American Boy
John “Jack” Hallsten Armstrong, 84, passed away Monday, July 27, 2020 at the Orlando Lutheran Towers.
On April 17, 1936, Jack was born at his home in Geneseo, IL to parents William and Mildred Armstrong. At a young age, Jack was ascribed his nickname from a radio program entitled, Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, and 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.
Jack spent eight years teaching science and coaching multiple sports at Erie Highschool and Sterling Newman Highschool in Illinois. Then in 1967, he was awarded a one-year 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.
At this point in his life, Jack 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.
Throughout his life, Jack stayed fit intellectually and physically. He was an avid reader of book and newspapers (often rising early in the morning to fetch the paper as it was being delivered). He was a beloved facetious fixture of the neighborhood - walking his dogs (especially his favorite golden retriever, Otto) and mowing his lawn early Saturday mornings so he could then kick back and watch the other neighbors work. He biked and exercised at the YMCA regularly, even after he suffered a stroke in 2000. The stroke left him unable to speak, which led him to pursue improvement in 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. 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.”
Survivors (spouses) include his wife, Barbara, Orlando, FL; his children, Amy Armstrong, Alexandria, VA and John (Darleen) Armstrong, Manassas, VA; and grandchildren, Mark, Jason, and Heidi Armstrong. He was preceded in death by his sister, Joan Edwards, and his brother William “Sparky” Armstrong.
The family intends to bury Jack’s remains in 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.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
August 7, 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!