James Armstrong

Posted 8/18/20

MENDOTA - James “Jim” Armstrong, 96, of Mendota passed away Aug. 16, 2020 at Heritage Health, Mendota.

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James Armstrong


MENDOTA - James “Jim” Armstrong, 96, of Mendota passed away Aug. 16, 2020 at Heritage Health, Mendota.

Cremation rites have been accorded. A celebration of life and burial will take place at a later date. Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota is handling the arrangements.

Jim was born Feb. 22, 1924 in Baltimore, Md. to James and Ruth (Bischoff) Armstrong. He met the love of his life at the Kakusha Dance Pavilion and quickly swept Gertrude “Trudy” Elsesser off her feet. They were married July 29, 1950 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mendota. She preceded him in death in 2004.

Survivors include two daughters, Meg (Scott) Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn. and Mary (Michael) Noonan of Fort Wayne, Ind.; one son, Tom (Heike Spayne) Armstrong of Elgin; seven grandchildren, Drew (Amber) Stevenson, Paige (Emma) Stevensby, Tyler (Samantha) Stevenson, Kelsey (Adam) Rubin, Patrick Armstrong, Elizabeth (Christopher) Lanning and James Noonan; and four great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Olin, Elinor and Camille Stevenson.

He was preceded in death by his wife and one sister, Rachel Fink in 2013.

Jim grew up in Sparrows Point and Dundalk, Md. After high school, he earned a Bachelors degree in Agronomy from the University of Maryland. He served in the U.S. Army from 1945-1946 as a medical tech. Following the war, he attended the University of Illinois and received a Masters degree in Agronomy. After serving an internship at the Rochelle Del Monte Plant, Jim was hired in 1949 to begin work as a field supervisor at the new Del Monte Plant in Mendota. This was a career that lasted until he retired in 1984. He enjoyed a lifelong passion for gardening and nature conservation. He was a long-time member of the Mendota Garden Club and could be seen planting and working on public gardens around town well into his 80s. He was an avid tennis player, sports fan and was smooth as silk on the dance floor. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

Memorials may be directed to The Nature Conservancy in Illinois, 400 N. Michigan Ave., Suite S1100, Chicago, IL 60611 and to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 607 10th Ave., Mendota, IL 61342.