Margaret Armstrong

Obituary of Margaret Armstrong

Margaret Childs Armstrong Margaret Childs Armstrong, 87, died at home on October 30, dignified and full of grace, after a courageous battle with leukemia. Born in Williamsburg, Virginia, on March 21, 1926, she was the second child of Willa Whitson Childs and Harwood Lawrence Childs. Her father was a long-time professor of Political Science at Princeton University and founder of the journal Public Opinion Quarterly. Margie, as she was known to her friends, grew up in Princeton, and was a graduate of Princeton High School, where she was a member of the girls' tennis team and played the flute in the orchestra. An outstanding student, she won prizes for the highest four-year average of those heading for college, the highest three-year average in French, and the highest average in Science. She represented Princeton High School in a conference of New Jersey Secondary Schools at Rutgers University, speaking on the subject of "Radio Is Part of My English Curriculum." At her graduation she was the concluding student speaker on the topic "Freedom from Want." She was runner-up for Class President, and was voted by her classmates "Most Attractive" and "The Girl "Most Likely to Succeed," and was runner-up for "Most Talented Girl" and "Most Popular Girl." At Wellesley College, she was a Political Science major, and was the coxswain of the freshman crew. During World War II she spent her summers and vacation periods in Washington, DC, working at the Library of Congress and for the War Production Board. As a Wellesley alum she was asked to serve as President of her class, but declined because of her church and family obligations. She agreed, however, to serve in the less demanding role of Vice President. What is unusual about this is that her two sisters, Betty Ann and Martha, were serving as Vice Presidents of their respective Wellesley classes at the same time! That may never have happened before or since at any college. As a young girl Margie was very involved in the theater. Her high school performance as Emily in "Our Town" was talked about for years afterward. She played the part of Blossom in McCarter Theatre's premiere production of "Susan and God," with Ilka Chase. She was invited to be in the Broadway production of the same play, but her parents did not want her to embark on a stage career at such a young age. Margie also appeared in other plays, including the history-making production of Shakespeare's "Othello," starring Paul Robeson, Jose Ferrer, and Uta Hagen. In January, 1948, Margie married Richard Stoll (Dick) Armstrong (Princeton '46) and together they embarked on his exciting career as a baseball front office executive. When, following the 1955 season, Dick resigned from the Baltimore Orioles to enter Princeton Theological Seminary, Margie devoted herself to joining her husband in his new calling. As a pastor's wife she was compassionate, intelligent, creative, calm, organized, a wonderful cook, an artistic hostess. When Dick later joined the faculty of Princeton Seminary she entertained hundreds of his students. Above all else she loved God, her husband, and her family. Margie and Dick loved to travel, taking their young family all over the United States, and in later years leading groups of friends on many international tours. She also accompanied Dick on his speaking and teaching engagements throughout North America and abroad. She will be missed by friends all over the world. On Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, Margie joined the First Presbyterian Church (now Nassau Presbyterian Church) of Princeton, New Jersey, where she remained a member, except for periods when she identified with the churches where her husband was serving as pastor. Margie's mother-in-law said of her that with her soft brown eyes and her radiant smile she would always be beautiful. She was. In addition to her devoted husband of nearly 66 years, Margie is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Ellen and Michael Kanarek, her son and daughter-in-law Andrew and Caroline Armstrong, her son and daughter-in-law William (Woody) and Christine Armstrong, her daughter and son-in-law the Reverend Elsie and Thomas Rhodes, her grandson Derek Kanarek and his wife Rebecca, her grandson Graham Kanarek and his wife Marnie, her grandson Orion Kanarek, her granddaughters Alyssa and Olivia Armstrong, her grandsons Seth Olsen and Samuel Rhodes, her great-grandsons Charlie, Will, Gabriel and Julian, and by her sister and brother-in-law Martha and L. Edwin Sproul. She was predeceased by her older sister Elizabeth Ann Rowse Graham and by her first son Richard Stoll Armstrong, Jr. The burial will be private. Friends may visit the family at Princeton Windrows, 2000 College Road West (609-514-0001) from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2. A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 18, at 2:00 p.m. in the Princeton University Chapel. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Willa and Harwood Childs Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Princeton Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 821, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803, or to the Richard S. Armstrong, Jr. Scholarship Fund at the American Boychoir School, 75 Mapleton Road, Unit 4, Princeton, NJ 08540.
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