July 8, 1929 - Jan. 22, 2013
ELKHART - Thomas Franklin Armstrong, 83, of Elkhart, died Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at Greenleaf Health Campus, after a long illness.
Thomas was born July 8, 1929, in Decatur to Marcella "Sally" (Kern) and Lewis S. Armstrong.
Thomas is survived by his spouse of 55 years, Joan (Schaitberger); daughters Ann (Daniel) Berenato, Beth (Neil) Perron and Elise (James) Cobb; sons Timothy Armstrong, Brian (Elizabeth) Armstrong and Jeffrey Armstrong; grandchildren Thomas and Catherine Berenato, Matthew, Joseph and Rachel Perron, Grace, Caroline and Lilian Armstrong and Benjamin Armstrong; sister Kay (Richard) Bibler; brother John (Mary) Armstrong; and many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his daughter-in-law, Noreen Armstrong.
Thomas graduated from Elkhart High School in 1947 and earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1951, where he was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.
He was an officer in the U.S. Air Force, served in the Korean War while he was stationed in Fukuoka, Japan, and was honorably discharged in 1953 with a Korean Services Medal and a United Nations Service Medal.
Thomas served in the U.S. State Department Foreign Service as a diplomatic courier, initially posted in Manila, Philippines, where his duties took him to countries in Southeast Asia as well as to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. In Manila he met his wife, Joan, who worked in the U.S. embassy there; they were married in Manila in 1957. Their next post was in Frankfurt, Germany, where Thomas' duties took him to Eastern and Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The couple returned to Elkhart in 1959, where they raised their family and where Thomas continued his career. After many years of employment at NIBCO, Thomas joined Midwest Commerce Insurance and later retired in 1994. During these years, the well-being and comfort of his family were the main focus of his life. He imparted to his children his love of travel, his interest in exploring different countries and cultures and ultimately his appreciation for home.
Thomas was a director of the former Elkhart Concert Club, previously served on the board of the Elkhart County Symphony and was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.
Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home, 403 W. Franklin St., Elkhart, where the vigil service will be at 4:30 p.m. Mass of the resurrection will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 1405 N. Main St., Elkhart. The Rev. William Sullivan will officiate. Burial will follow at Rice Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be given to Rush University Medical Center, Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Program, 1700 W. Van Buren St., Suite 250, Chicago, IL 60612; or the Center for Hospice Care, 22579 Old U.S. 20 E., Elkhart, IN 46516.
Online condolences may be sent at www.hartzlergutermuthinman.com.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to the staff at Greenleaf Health Campus for their compassionate care of and affection for Thomas.