Thomas Guy Armstrong, 75, of Topsail Island, North Carolina, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, after a brief illness.
Born to Willie Dean (Bill) and Guy Armstrong during the Second World War, he was reared in Monroe, Georgia, where he reveled in the small town atmosphere.
He enjoyed life-long friends as well as an early work life, mowing lawns then moving on to Big Apple Supermarket. During that period, he attained his Eagle Scout ranking, an achievement that gave him great pride. After graduating Monroe High School in 1964, he attended Mercer University and graduated from Troy State University with a degree in accounting.
Tom was also a member of the Georgia National Guard, an experience he treasured as he felt the experiences and discipline enriched his view of life as a result of his training, akin to the lessons in Eagle Scouting. Afterward, he began his career as an accountant and soon found his way to North Carolina, a state he also loved to call home.
Tragedy struck early in his life as his wife, Carolyn, was injured in a car accident a week after their marriage and died a few months later. He found solace in his work and met Anne Buchanan, whom he married and was enriched as well by the birth of their daughter, Nancy Anne.
During those years, he moved to Durham and began work for the city of Durham. He began classes and sat for the certified public accountant exam. After passing and receiving his certification, he found a position at Bailey, Self, Harris and Co. He later formed a small tax firm with his close friend and fellow CPA Scott Edwards. After other ventures, he joined the Roberson CPA firm (now DMJ & Co.), enjoying the comradeship of Fred and Ed, as well as all the staff.
In the 1990’s he became chief financial officer of Lee Air Conditioning, a position he held until his retirement, relishing the friendship of owner Joe Lee and all the employees. At Lee Air, Tom began another pursuit, cooking for staff and customers. His work at the grill enthralled him; delivering a rendering to another gave him ongoing pleasure.
After the death of his wife Anne, he married Linda Dove Bright, whom he had previously met at church. Finding himself with two stepchildren, Cheryl and Donnie Bright, Tom plunged into that role with eagerness as they combined their families. Sadly, Cheryl died of cancer soon after graduating college. However, the family welcomed a first grandchild, Jared Thomas Weaver.
After leaving Lee Air, Tom served clients in various towns near Durham until his death. He enjoyed working and considered his clients good friends, always keeping humor as a part of his relationships. Rather than rest on his laurels, he gained great benefit from further CPA training, somehow managing Las Vegas as a designation for schooling. During this time, he and Linda spent more time at their beach home at Topsail, eventually making it home in the past year.
To center Tom’s life was his strong Christian faith. Although he joined the Baptist faith as a youth, his maturity, like his sacred devotion, grew. As a student of the Bible and many speakers, an appropriate verse found its way into conversation. His prayer life was abundant and vast. Most of his friendships stemmed from similar religious perspectives.
Although this element of his life was serious, Tom is further characterized by an overwhelming sense of joyousness and playfulness. He adopted the fine attributes of his grandfathers, Jim Thomas and Gordon Armstrong. The generosity of the former permeated Tom as he could never do enough for others, always with a cheerful spirit. The second gave him the gift of becoming a raconteur, savoring the telling of familiar narratives with elaboration and gesticulation.
Tom is survived by his wife, Linda Armstrong; his daughter, Nancy Armstrong and her son, Jared Weaver; his stepson, Donald S. Bright II (Robyn), and their daughters, Megan and Ashley; his sister, Amelia Armstrong Adams and her sons, Charles Woodroof III (Andrea) and William Woodroof (Beatriz); great-niece, Kathryn (Caleb) Morris; great-nephews, Bill Woodroof, Arthur Woodroof, and Edgar Woodroof.
Services will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, in the chapel of Clements Funeral Home, Durham. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to Trinity Outreach, P.O. Box 71055, Durham NC 27722; or Billy Long Ministries, 368 Cox Lane, Longs, SC 29565.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to www.clementsfuneralservice.com.