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Manager kept Pearl Harbor memories to himself

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
James B. Armstrong, 95, of Longwood at Oakmont, formerly of Indiana Township, passed away peacefully Sunday, March 24, 2013.

James Armstrong was stationed at a military base on Oahu, Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

The Army veteran kept private his memories about the day the United States entered World War II, said his son, Jim Armstrong of Brackenridge.

“All my dad ever told us was that he was several miles away at the Schofield Barracks and that they realized they were under attack when the mess tent blew up,” Armstrong said.

James B. Armstrong of Longwood at Oakmont, formerly of Indiana Township, died Sunday, March 24, 2013. He was 95.

Born in Highland Park, Mr. Armstrong was a 1935 graduate of Shady Side Academy and 1939 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

He enlisted in 1941 and served with the Army Corps of Engineers. After Pearl Harbor, he was sent to the Persian Gulf, which was a strategic location for transferring munitions and other resources to aid the Russians' efforts against Germany.

Mr. Armstrong held positions with National Supply Co. and Joy Manu facturing Corp. He worked as a business manager for the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and managed Lodgegrass Farms, which his family owned.

“My dad started going up to Seven Springs for alpine skiing back in 1936 when they still used engines from Model T Fords to run tow ropes up the hill,” Armstrong said. “He loved taking us out on the slopes while we were growing up.”

Mr. Armstrong was an active member of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and trustee. He was a member of the University Club of Pittsburgh, the Fox Chapel Rotary Club and the City Farmers Club of Pittsburgh.

In addition to his son, Jim, Mr. Armstrong is survived by sons George B. Armstrong of Adams, Butler County, and Peter S. Armstrong of Wayland, Mass.; a daughter, Sandra A. Johnston of New Wilmington, Lawrence County; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, the former Betty Michel; a brother, Robert Armstrong; and a sister, Mary Hamilton.

Friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, 100 Center Ave., Aspinwall. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. April 4 in the ballroom at Longwood at Oakmont, 500 Coxcomb Hill Road, Plum. Interment will be private.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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