CHANUTE — Willis “Bill” Leroy Armstrong Jr., age 84 of Chanute, Kan. passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in the comfort of his rural home outside of Chanute, Kan. Bill was born on Feb. 2, 1936 in Effingham, Kan., to Willis and Vera (Hawk) Armstrong. He graduated from Atchison High School in 1954 and then again four years later from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Music Education. While working as a band instructor in Russell, Kan., he was introduced to Jean Anne Converse, a music teacher working in nearby Wilson, Kan. After a whirlwind courtship, the two married on March 17, 1962 at the First United Methodist Church in Great Bend, Kan.
Bill is survived by wife Jean Anne Armstrong; daughter Lisa Jo Armstrong; son Craig Allen Armstrong; grandchildren Jessica Armstrong and Juan Armstrong. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Helen Leah Waser.
Bill Armstrong was a good man who was fiercely dedicated to the pursuit of a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ and the fulfillment of his role as faithful husband, dedicated father and loving grandfather. Bill made many personal sacrifices over the years to ensure every member of his family had everything they needed. He shared his incredible work ethic with his children while encouraging them to find their paths to achieve their personal best. His family’s security and happiness always came first. Bill took his responsibilities of head of household and provider seriously, always searching for ways to give his family all he felt they deserved.
Bill was a gifted musician. He played many instruments, but above all loved the violin. He bought his first violin in a pawn shop, learning to play the “fiddle” with the help of an older gentleman who lived just down the road from his boyhood home, a farm located in rural Atchison, Kan. From the moment his fingers touched the strings, his love for music became a lifelong passion. Bill shared his love for music with many students over a long career as a band teacher including countless students of USD 413 in Chanute, Kan.
Bill discovered the joy and challenge of aviation when he was in his thirties. First, he earned his private pilot’s license and instrument rating which allowed him to share the wonder of flight with his family. His wife and children often joked they would never again drive to any destination beyond 30 miles and that in truth, Bill was far better suited to sit behind the yoke of an aircraft than the steering wheel of a car. Bill went on to earn multiple pilot’s certificates and ratings, turning his fascination with aviation into a career which culminated in the position of Flight Instructor at FlightSafety International in Wichita, Kan. Bill loved working with pilots from all over the world to provide the encouragement and personalized training they needed to keep their passengers safe.
Bill was also an avid outdoorsman. Each season of the year was reserved for a special outdoor activity. Whether it was looking for morel mushrooms, hunting upland game with his favorite Brittany Spaniel or fishing with good friends, Bill loved being outdoors. In fact, he chose Southeast Kansas as his permanent home in part because he loved the “good fishing” afforded by the area’s abundance of rivers and lakes.
It brings Bill’s family great comfort to know he can now be laid to rest in this place he loved so much and chose to call home.
A visitation will be held on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 from 5-7 p.m. at Countryside Funeral Home Johnson Chapel in Chanute, Kan. Funeral service will be on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Chanute, Kan. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Chanute. Online condolences may be left at: www.countrysidefh.com. The family suggests in lieu of flowers, memorials to be made to Fellow Man International Foundation and may be mailed to P.O. box 2993, Salina, KS 67402. Arrangements have been entrusted to Countryside Funeral Home, 101 N. Highland, Chanute, KS 66720.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Countryside Funeral Home
101 N. Highland
Chanute, KS 66720
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Feb. 16, 2020