Ralph R. Armstrong had a passion for his community, family and mankind.
Armstrong’s wife, Mary Frances Armstrong, is a past chairperson for the Bradley County Election Commission.
The Armstrongs were married for 54 years.
“His passions were reading, history, World War I and WWII. He was a big supporter of Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and he loved to work on the old house on Centenary Avenue,” according to Reedy.
“He restored the home himself with occasional help but most of the work on the home he did himself, [including] removal of paint to restore original woodwork on the inside of the home, removal of layers of wallpaper,” she added.
According to Reedy, the home is the oldest on Centenary Avenue.
Armstrong was raised on a farm in Knoxville and “came from very humble beginnings. He told me of stories about the Depression, when there was no food on the table,” Reedy said.
Armstrong had seven brothers and sisters, all of whom preceded him in death.
Armstrong maintained law offices in Chattanooga and Cleveland.
He worked alongside Eric as well as Amy prior to her judge’s appointment and election.
“Eric and I both worked for him in a clerk position in our early years (20s) serving process and doing investigative assignments,” said Reedy.
“The characteristics of my father that affected me the most would be his hard work ethic. He lived within his means, he was not a hypocrite, he was humble and sincere, and he always told me not to argue with fools or they would wonder who the fool was,” Reedy said. “He was very conservative in the manner in which he lived his life. Dad never missed a chance to be charitable in a quiet way. He never let his left hand know what his right hand was doing for a brother or organization in need. One of the last things Dad said to Eric and I on June 3, was ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him will not die but have everlasting life.’ Dad was a Bible reader. The week before he died he told me when I asked him if there was anywhere in the world he could go where would it be ... he said ‘Heaven.’”
Armstrong was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and earned a Juris Doctorate degree at the UT School of Law. He was a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity; served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and Army ROTC at the University of Tennessee; was a practicing attorney and member of the Hamilton County Bar Association; and was a former member of the Lions Club. He resided in Cleveland.
He is survived by Mary Frances Armstrong, wife of 54 years; a son, Eric Shelton Armstrong and his wife, Lisa; a daughter, Amy Armstrong Reedy and her husband, Bill; and grandson Wyatt Armstrong Reedy.
A small memorial service will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church with the Rev. Robert Smith officiating. The family will receive friends from noon until service time.
The family requests that donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 2151, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38101-2151.
His body was donated to the University Of Tennessee School Of Medicine in Memphis.