Obituary. . .The Tennessean, Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Age eighty. March 11, 2002. Mr. Armstrong was a veteran of WWII where he was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal, a 1949 graduate of Vanderbilt School of Engineering, and a retired Elder of Otter Creek Church of Christ. He is survived by his wife, Helen Wise Armstrong; children, Charles G. Armstrong, Martha Burnett, Nancy Kirksey; sister, Ann Nygard of Clinton, TN; grandchildren, Jim Armstrong, Jennifer Forrest, Julie Armstrong, Blake Burnett, Katie Burnett, Rachael Kirksey and Laura Kirksey. His remains are at Woodlawn Funeral Home where the family will receive friends 4:00-7:00 P.M. Tuesday. Services to be conducted 1:30 P.M., Wednesday, March 13, 2002, at Otter Creek Church of Christ by Bro. Jimmy Thomas. Interment to follow in Woodlawn Memorial Park. Honorary Pallbearers will be John Rucker, Glenn Huff, Randall Harley and the Elders of Otter Creek Church of Christ. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Wayne Reed Christian Child Care. Arrangements by Woodlawn Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane. 383-4754.
Comments by Carolyn Wilson, printed in the Otter Creek bulletin, March 17, 2002
The Candy Man, Charles N. Armstrong, 1922-2002
Charlie Armstrong has affectionately been labeled “The Candy Man” for as long as I have known him, and that is forty years. But this term encompassed so much more than just dispensing from his bag of candy. Charlie gave out more love than candy, although they were given simultaneously.
Charlie was a big man, both physically and emotionally. He was a war hero, decorated by his country for bravery during World War II. He was proud of his service and intensely patriotic. He liked to talk about those war years because Charlie was a giver, and this was just one of the periods of his life when he gave unselfishly and unconditionally for others.
He gave to his family. He loved his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. He also loved my children and my grandchildren, and countless others both in the Otter Creek family and beyond. He gave to this body of believers in long service as one of our elders. It was often said that the term benevolence was created by Charlie and Helen Armstrong. They had a special ministry to the poor, the unserved, the disadvantaged, the needy. He gave the means and Helen did the leg work. Their outreach to these people cannot be counted because they never kept a record, and much of what they did was not known to anyone except those who received. Charlie was a recognized professional presence, and many buildings in Nashville stand as monuments to his engineering abilities.
But the picture that stays permanently etched on our hearts is that of Charlie sitting with his candy bag open, children on his lap, children gathered round, children hugging his neck, Charlie loving all of them unconditionally. Just like our Lord loves us. And love is something we can leave behind when we die. It remains powerful. Someone said that a person needs only three things to be truly happy in this world—someone to love, something to do, something to hope for. Charles Armstrong was a happy man.
When the days unravel ahead of us and Charlie is not with us in body, we shall not be far apart, for our beloved Candy Man will forever be in our hearts.
Comments by Pam White
While most Charlie Armstrong memories from folks at the Creek seem to be about his relationships with children, mine are about his servant leadership with adults. Whether using kitchen or carpentry tools, Charlie Armstrong taught young and old alike a “can-do” approach to tasks. I witnessed him leading in the kitchen at a spaghetti supper or pancake breakfast. I also saw him work with my father, who was then in his late seventies, to set rafters in the large barn he was building. He taught as he worked and showed up as quickly as he knew a need.
Commentsby Sandra Collins
Among my memories of Charlie Armstrong are these: Charlie “the Candy Man” surrounded by little children every Sunday after services; coming up our hill in the backyard with his arms up high holding a full metal swing set over his head because he knew a family that could use it; coming alone to move a large fuel pump to a truck because we were getting a new HVAC and he could use the fuel pump at a cabin; working with others in the kitchen at potlucks and retreats; and laughing heartily at the slightest provocation.
My favorite memory is of a potluck dinner after church when the father of Wolfgang Sauermann came to visit and sat across the table from Charlie. As the men talked, they began to realize that they had both fought in the Battle of the Bulge—on opposite sides.