Obituary of Lawrence E. Armstrong
December 25, 2023, Lawrence Edward Armstrong, known by most as Larry, age 86, of Chatham, NJ, passed away peacefully after a series of back-to-back illnesses.
Larry, the sixth of seven children and the youngest brother, was born in El Paso, Texas, to Julian L. and Preble F. Armstrong. His early years were spent playing with all their beloved dogs, erector sets and model trains, a great love and hobby he cherished his entire life. His family owned a cleaning plant and he started working there young, even being granted a driver’s license at the age of 14 to assist with the family business. In 1956, he graduated from Austin High School and went on to serve in the US Navy Reserve from 1956 to 1969. While also attending Northrup Institute of Technology in California during this time he was called home at the untimely death of his father. He was able to complete his degree in 1974 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at The New Jersey Institute of Technology, known then as Newark College of Engineering. This set him on a long and successful career as a master mechanical engineer who gained international renown in his career. He worked for several companies, most prominently Foster Wheeler and BASF, from which he retired in 2002. Always happier working than sitting still, Larry continued to work as a consultant for years after his official retirement.
Larry met the love of his life, Fran Cannon, while in New Jersey on business on a blind date. It was love at first sight. Within a mere week of in-person courtship and three months of constant letter writing, the two were engaged and married in a less than 5-month whirlwind romance.
Larry and Fran married in 1967 and resided briefly in El Paso and Tulsa, Oklahoma, before returning to Fran’s home state of New Jersey. In 1975 they moved to Chatham, New Jersey, which they have called home for almost forty-nine years. The epitome of a Hallmark movie come-to-life, they were happily married for over 56 years. Together they raised three children, Karen, Edward and Elizabeth.
Larry loved all things mechanical from cars to trains to planes. While working for Howard Hughes Company in California, Larry learned to fly, a love he shared with his beloved nephew, J.E. Motts. Larry also loved to travel. There were trips abroad and frequent trips to visit family. Skype, phone calls, letters, cards, photo texts and the visits Larry received during the final weeks of his life were a tremendous source of joy, peace, and comfort to him.
Larry was strong willed with a true Texas temper, but he also had an enormous heart and wonderful sense of humor. He was generous, loyal, and brave. He was clever and full to the brim with knowledge gained through all of his life experiences and he could literally fix or build anything. He also had a great love of gardening and enjoyed all flowers, especially chrysanthemums and poinsettias. Larry took great pride in being a father and grandfather.
Larry had a lifelong love affair with ice cream, baked goods, BBQ and, being from a border town, good Mexican food. He had an almost magical ability to find the absolute best ice cream parlor within a 100-mile radius of wherever he went.
A man who loved all God’s creatures but particularly dogs, cats and otters, Larry’s furry ones were dear to him. His beloved English Springer Spaniel, Lady, bought because he believed all children, especially his own, should grow up with a dog and Manly, his frequent partner in crime. A small feisty grey cat thrust upon him when his eldest graduated college and brought home the little grey barn kitten, the two became instantly inseparable. Both brought him untold joy.
Larry’s spiritual journey was epitomized by his strong faith in God and the blessed assurance of his salvation though Jesus Christ. Larry made a profession of Christian faith, was baptized and was active at Madison Baptist Church for nearly 40 years. He drove the Sunday School bus, served as a deacon and on numerous committees. He was a principled man whose deep faith enhanced his integrity, sense of fairness and loyalty. Larry was also a Master Mason, a member of Fraternity Lodge AF&AM.
Larry was predeceased by his father, Julian Armstrong, mother, Preble Armstrong, brothers Lloyd, William, Robert, and Harold Armstrong and sister, Preble Kaufman.
He is survived by his beloved wife Fran (Cannon) Armstrong, daughter Karen M. A. Newman (James W. Newman, Jr), and son Edward M. Armstrong (Rebecca L Armstrong) and daughter Elizabeth K. Armstong as well as his adored grandchildren: Rachel Newman, Edward Armstrong, Julian Armstrong, William Armstrong, Samuel Armstrong, Elijah Armstrong, Cora Armstrong and Lowell Armstrong. He is also survived by his sister, Zonie M. Quinn and a nephew, J. E. Motts. He leaves behind countless extended family: sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend the visitation on Thursday, December 28, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. funeral service held at the Madison Memorial Home, 159 Main Street, Madison.
A graveside service with military honors will be held on Friday at 12:00 p.m. at the Fairmount Cemetery, 233 Hillside Avenue, Chatham.
Charitable contributions may be made in Larry’s memory to the Chatham Emergency Squad, 31 North Passaic Ave, Chatham, NJ 07928
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