Aary Etta Armstrong was born on May 24, 1923, to Moses and Minnie Betton. She was the youngest of six children born to this union. Aary and her family lived in the small town of Washington, Arkansas, where her father was a civil engineer, electrician, and minister. It was there, and at a very early age, that Aary’s faith was nurtured. She came to know God for herself, accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, and was baptized. Aary’s family also wanted to nurture her interest and enthusiasm for education. She was sent to live with an aunt in Little Rock, Arkansas to receive better scholastic opportunities. In 1939, at the age of sixteen, Aary completed her secondary education and graduated from Pal Lawrence Dunbar High School. It was shortly thereafter that she embarked on an amazing journey that would forever change her life.
Aary met a strikingly handsome young man by the name of Clinton D. Armstrong. She became enamored with his endearing smile and affection towards her. On June 21, 1943, Aary and Clinton married and began the adventure of developing a long, lasting love story. After three years of marriage, the newlyweds relocated to the beautiful and sunny city of San Diego, California. Aary immediately fell in love with the city and the couple decided to stay. San Diego was the perfect location to raise a family. They were blessed with five lovely children, Henry, Stephanie, Clinton, II (affectionately known as “Danny”), Donald (affectionately known as “Don”), and Terrell (affectionately known as “Terry”).
As a young wife, Aary encountered an unexpected challenge when her beloved Clinton was drafted to serve in the military. It was Aary’s strong faith, hope, and tenacity that helped her endure the perilous times. Aary was a superb homemaker who balanced the tasks of raising her children and caring for her household needs with style and flair. She was never one to sit idle or shy away from hard work. Many years later, she decided to seek employment with Convair. She remained there until she was able to secure a better position with the United States Post Office. Aary was a loyal and dedicated employee of the post office until the day of her retirement.
Aary and Clinton served God together. They were faithful and devoted members at the Church of Christian Fellowship (now known as Christian Fellowship Church, UCC). They joined the church under the tutelage and pastorate of Rev. Shaffers in 1953. Over the course of their membership, they served under several leaders. However, some of Aary’s favorites included: Adeline Mack, Dr. James Hargett, Dr. Arthur Cribbs, and Dr. J. Lee Hill. They loved their church and worked together, giving of their time and efforts for the glory of the Lord! Clinton served as a loyal and dedicated deacon, while Aary was a great leader, church mother, and advisor to many individuals in need. She would provide comfort, compassion, and offered assistance when necessary. She truly had a heart for God’s people. She remained a devout member, passionately working for the Lord, until the end of her life.
Aary was an inspiring, no-nonsense woman. She was known to be a “stickler” for the rules. Some may have thought of her as a perfectionist, but she simply required the best from everyone. She would not settle for anything less. She demanded that things be “right,” and done “well.” She truly lived by the saying that, “if you didn’t give it your all, then it was not worth doing.”
Aary was a lifelong learner. She received an honorary doctoral degree along with her husband. She was able to achieve many things and garner numerous awards alongside Clinton. She was a multi-faceted woman with varied interests. She loved being a devoted wife, and mother, who built a loving home and life for her family. She was an exceptional cook who loved to entertain, (she could present a table fit for a queen). She was adventurous and adored traveling to new places. You could find her outside tending to her garden or using her creativity to explore different types of sewing and craft projects. She was an amazing, caring, and strong woman who embodied all of the excellence and integrity of a virtuous woman. Above all else, she had a zest for life, a love for God, and a love for her family.
On April 23, 2020, God called His servant Aary Etta Armstrong home to rest. She is preceded in death by her husband, Clinton D. Armstrong, Sr., son Henry, and daughter Stephanie; brothers: William, and James; sisters: Dorcas, Martha, and Jewelene. Left to cherish her mission and legacy are her sons: Clinton, II, Donald, and Terrell Armstrong, all of California; two grandsons: Clinton, III, and Aaron; two granddaughters: Ashanti and Dominique; great-grandchildren: Khaliq, Mikayla, Kennedy, Khalia, and Leilah; goddaughters: P. Gail Betton, Linda Golston Moss, Yvette Rollins, Marquetta Brown, and Sharron Brown, and a host of neighbors, family, friends, and community members.
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