James C. “Runt” or “Papaw” Armstrong, age 91, slipped quietly into the arms of Jesus May 31 after a short battle with CHF. He was born in 1929 to Lena Belle (Thrailkill) and Bill Armstrong just outside French Camp, MS. He lived and worked hard on the farm and periodically attended school at French Camp Academy where teachers knew him as prankster – the kind who would leave a snake in a teacher’s desk! His school attendance was sporadic due to farm work, but he continued until age 17 and enjoyed playing football for French Camp. After completing school, he began working full time at the local sawmill where he had worked part time since 6yrs old. In time, he met Edna Greenwall and they married in 1948 – one week after her 18th birthday. In 1949, he went to Montgomery, AL where he began working with his Uncle Robert Thrailkill at Layne – a commercial water well drilling company. In 1963 he moved to Layne’s Pensacola office and continued to work for many years. He traveled all over the United States, drilling wells that benefitted millions of people. At age 78, he “retired” as drill rig foreman after 58 years. Never satisfied to sit around, he worked around the Layne shop for another 5 years until he retired a second time at age 83 – after an amazing 63 years! He continued to stay active – primarily through growing a large garden, keeping chickens, and tending honey bees. He was a member of the North Escambia Bee Club and attended Heritage Baptist Church of Pensacola.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father; beloved wife Edna; brothers Lester, Billy and sister Bonnie Lynn Bridges.
He is survived by his sister Neva Mason; three children James “Andy” (Carol), Sharon Beck (Ray), and Allison; two grandchildren, Andrew (Kim) and Amanda; and one great-grandchild, Elizabeth.
Family visitation will be at Bethsaida Baptist Church in Montgomery County, Sat June 5 at 1pm with homegoing service at 2pm. Oliver Funeral Home of Winona, MS is entrusted with arrangements.
The family extends thanks to Pensacola Covenant Hospice Sacred Heart inpatient unit staff for compassionately helping him and the family complete his journey Home.
The family requests In lieu of flowers please send donations to Covenant Hospice of Pensacola or Heritage Baptist Church of Pensacola, 2200 W Michigan Ave Pensacola, FL 32526.