Aug. 15, 2020 — Thomas D. Armstrong, 77, passed away peacefully Aug. 6, 2020, at his Florence home.
Tom was born Nov. 18, 1942, in Havre, Mont., to Dorothy (Baumgartel) and Fredrick Armstrong.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Bernard and his younger brother Steven.
After graduating from Havre High School, Class of ‘61, he attended Northern Montana College until his enlistment in the U.S. Navy, where he completed Boot Camp at Naval Training Center, Great Lakes.
On May 9, 1964, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Sharon (Jasmine), in Seattle, Wash., where she was a student at Seattle University.
Following a brief honeymoon, Tom flew to Pensacola, Fla., where he completed “A” school as a Communications Technician(CT).
This was followed by orders to go to Naval Security Group, NAVCOMMSTA Sidi Yahi, Morocco, where his bride joined him for the next three years.
In 1967, as a member of an operational group on a special SIGINT/COMINT mission, he received a letter and a citation for outstanding performance from the Chief of Naval Operations.
Upon military discharge in 1968, they made their home in San Francisco, Calif., where Tom worked for Pacific Telephone and graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA degree using his GI Bill.
Deciding his wife’s dual federal and military career offered more advancement than his own at the time, he supported her IRS and Coast Guard relocations to Seattle, Wash., Philadelphia, Pa., and Washington, DC.
In 1991, Tom was recruited by the National Security Agency, completed Federal Law Enforcement Training Center courses in Glynco, Ga., and was certified as a Federal Protective Officer based out of Ft. Meade, Md.
He retired from NSA in October 2000, bought a 38’ diesel pusher motor home and spent the next 10 years traveling fulltime. In 2010, Tom and his wife built their “forever home” in the Fawn Ridge East development of Florence, where he also served as HOA President for one term.
Tom was also a member of Elks Lodge 1858, and a “happy camper” with the Rolling Elks RV Club. One of his favorite pastimes was joining fellow military veterans in the Band of Brothers coffee group, where he often regaled his tablemates with his endless jokes.
Tom was notorious for breaking into boisterous laughter midway — and forgetting the punch line! One of Tom’s greatest pleasures was taking his wife to dinner at a favorite local restaurant, followed by a Spanish coffee made by Bill the Bartender at the Waterfront Depot.
Tom will long be remembered for his larger than life personality and his infectious laughter.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one’s own favorite charity, the Oregon Coast Military Museum, or to Bristol Hospice Eugene, LLC; 1077 Gateway Loop, Ste. B; Springfield, OR 97477 (541-844-0151) in memory of Thomas D. Armstrong, funds to be used for any military Vet-related program.
Arrangements in the care of Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home.