Obituary: James B. Armstrong / Embraced farm life after number cruncher career

July 17, 1917 - March 24, 2013

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It wasn't until James B. Armstrong retired in 1983 that he took up a job that required heavy lifting.

He had had a long career sitting in chairs and focusing on numbers, but when he left his final employer, he turned his attention to his Indiana Township farm, where 13 horses were boarded.

At 64 he started raising and harvesting oats, cutting and baling hay and throwing hay bales, Mr. Armstrong's son, James M. Armstrong, said.

After turning the farm around, Mr. Armstrong finally retired from his retirement at the age of 75, by selling Lodgegrass Farm in Indiana Township and moving to Longwood at Oakmont.

He died at Longwood at Oakmont on Sunday. He was 95 years old.

Mr. Armstrong was a graduate of Shady Side Academy and Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, where he studied engineering.

He enlisted in the Army just prior to World War II and was in Oahu, Hawaii, as an enlisted man when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. After the U.S. entered the war, Mr. Armstrong was sent to officer candidate school and then spent the rest of the war in the Persian Gulf with the Army Corps of Engineers building infrastructure for the war effort. Before the war he was employed by the Armour meat company. After the war he spent the bulk of his career as credit manager for National Supply Co. and then Joy Manufacturing Corp.

In the years just before his retirement he was the business manager for the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Then he retired to his family's farm, which he ran for the next 11 years.

In addition to his son, James of Brackenridge, he is survived by two other sons, George B. of Adams and Peter S. of Wayland, Mass.; one daughter, Sandra A. Johnston of New Wilmington, Lawrence County; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, Aspinwall. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the ballroom of Longwood at Oakmont, 500 Coxcomb Hill Road, Plum.

Memorial contributions may be made to Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, 384 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238 or the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, One Children's Hospital Drive, 4401 Penn Ave., Central Plant, Floor 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, Aspinwall.

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