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In loving memory of
Arthur James Armstrong
  • September 17, 1924
  • -
  • July 17, 2018

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Obituary

James Armstrong 1924 – 2018

(Arthur) James Armstrong, born September 17th, 1924, departed this life on July 17th, 2018. James was a Bishop of the United Methodist Church Elected in 1968, he became the youngest Methodist bishop in the United States at the age of 43. As President of the National Council of Churches he was called “the most influential religious leader in America” by the U.S. News and World Report in 1982.  Later in his career, he served as Senior Minister at First Congregational Church at Winter Park.

He was the son and grandson of Methodist ministers. Earning academic degrees from Florida Southern College (AB) and the Candler School of Theology, Emory University (MDiv), he did graduate work at Boston University and the University of Chicago. He was awarded honorary degrees by Emory University, Florida Southern College, DePauw, Illinois Wesleyan, Evansville and Dakota Wesleyan universities, and Westmar College.

Prior to his election to the Episcopacy, Armstrong gained wide recognition as the innovative Pastor of the Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana; at the time the largest Methodist church in the state. In the early 1960s, the Indianapolis News named him one of the ten most influential “Movers and Shakers” in the city. He chaired the denomination’s Board of Church and Society and its Commission on Religion and Race.

The author of a dozen books and a contributor to many more, he also wrote widely for Christian journals and periodicals.

Active in human rights and global peace and justice movements, he was also a political activist. He organized and chaired Religious Leaders for McGovern, a group of more than 200 religious leaders, during the presidential campaign of 1972. When he left South Dakota in 1980, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the largest newspaper in the state, headlined, “South Dakota’s social conscience prepares to move on.”

Armstrong met with Kim Dae-jung in his home in Seoul, South Korea, when Kim was under house arrest. Kim painted a calligraphy for him which thereafter hung in his office (later Kim would serve as President of South Korea and receive the Nobel Peace Prize).

Following his retirement from the ministry in 1999, Armstrong taught at the Florida Center for Theological Studies. In his 90s, he continued teaching at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In 2010 students selected him to receive the Walter E. Barden Distinguished Teaching Award. Each year Dakota Wesleyan University gives a “Bishop Armstrong Peace and Justice Award” to an outstanding student who has made significant contributions to peace and justice. DWU also maintains an Armstrong Native American Scholarship fund.

Jim is survived by his loving wife, Sheri, his children, Jim Armstrong, Terri Armstrong, Becky Putens, John Armstrong, Leslye Hope, Allison Jacob, Eve Stoughton, Christopher Owen, Suzanne Bevan, and Heather Sabounji, as well as his many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren.

Bishop Armstrong’s funeral service is to be held at 10am on August 18th, 2018 at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.

Baldwin Brothers Funeral & Cremation Society of Winter Park is in charge of arrangements.


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  1. 15 Jul 2020
    Thais De Maria says:
    Today I happened upon a letter Professor Armstrong sent me in 2017. He sent me this letter four years after my leaving Rolling College. He wrote to say he was reading a book I had given him. In his class I learned things I will keep with me forever. What an honor it is to have known this amazing soul. What a privilege to have had his friendship, a friendship I will treasure for the rest of my days. May God bless his family.

  2. 28 Aug 2018
    Greg Cline says:
    So sorry to hear of Jim's passing.
    As a youngster I can remember his captivating sermons, even without totally understanding.
    Then when older and understanding, acknowledging his talent, knowledge, and devotion.
    I loved the way he incorporated current events and tied them in with his sermon topic.
    Loved the whole Armstrong family.
    Great memories.
    My deepest sympathies to his entire family.

  3. 11 Aug 2018
    Nancy Dezzutti Bucklew says:
    The Dezzutti family remembers Jim with great love. He and hid family were a vital and important part of our lives both in Vero Beach and in Indianapolis. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Nancy Dezzutti Bucklew

  4. 07 Aug 2018
    Pat Carlsen says:
    The Carlsen family remembers you with great love. Blessings on you and your family.

  5. 05 Aug 2018
    joyce Gossett says:
    I am so thankful to have met you and your wife. I will treasure our friendship forever. The good Lord has taken you home, you will be missed here on earth but there will be no more pain. Love you and God bless your family and friends. You are one remarkable man.

  6. 05 Aug 2018
    Joyce Gossett lit a candle:
    Lit since August 5, 2018 at 8:14:10 PM

  7. 25 Jul 2018
    Micah Johnson says:
    I am very sorry for your loss. May our loving Heavenly Father grant you peace, comfort, and strength during this most difficult time. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) Soon God promises to rid the earth of sickness, pain, and death forever. (Revelation 21:4 and Psalm 37:11)

  8. 24 Jul 2018
    Tracy says:
    It has been an extreme honor and pleasure to know you, my friend. You are a remarkable man and you touched so many lives with your bright smile and brilliant wit. I think about you often as I ponder your wise advice and conversations. I feel truly blessed to have had you in my life. You will remain alive in my heart until we meet again. Save me a seat. Love ya! TJ

  9. 24 Jul 2018
    Tracy Jones lit a candle:
    Lit since July 24, 2018 at 7:23:06 PM

  10. 23 Jul 2018
    Mary Jo Bray lit a candle:
    Lit since July 23, 2018 at 7:06:30 PM

  11. 23 Jul 2018
    Heather and Jeff lit a candle:
    Lit since July 23, 2018 at 7:32:15 PM

  12. 22 Jul 2018
    Lloyd Miller says:
    A remarkable man and spiritual leader who officiated at my wedding and became a good and wise counselor. Rest In Peace my dear friend. You served well.

  13. 22 Jul 2018
    Linda Peters says:
    God has welcomed home a loving and faithful servant.
    May the family find comfort and peace in God’s love and the memories in their hearts.

  14. 21 Jul 2018
    Jim and Sandi Fox says:
    We have been deeply honored and blessed to know such a wonderful and amazing man. It seems as though a part of us has been taken away. We always felt such love from Jim every time we were able to visit him. Although he is no longer able to do God's work here on earth, we are certain that he is God's right hand assistant in heaven. Much love to you our dear friend. You will be deeply missed.
    Jim and Sandi Fox

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