Elmer Dean Armstrong of Washington, Illinois, passed away peacefully in the early morning of May 19, 2023. Best known to friends and family as Spud, Elmer was 96 years old.
Elmer was born on March 20, 1927, in Cruger Township to Lester and Anna Schieber Armstrong. He married Dorothy Sandstrom on April 10, 1955.
The couple has three sons, Robert (Rebecca) Armstrong, also of Washington; Charles (Virginia Peschke) Armstrong, of O’Fallon, Missouri; and Wallace Armstrong of Champaign. Elmer’s surviving family also includes five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one sister, Edith Wenger of Eureka. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Dorothy, four brothers, and one great-grandchild.
Elmer lived and worked with his father and brothers on the family farm in Cruger, Illinois, until being drafted into the Army in 1950 for Korean War service. He fought on the 38th parallel, where the winter was so cold that his Christmas dinner froze to its metal pan. Elmer received the United Nations Service Medal and Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Stars.
After his release from the Army in August 1952, Elmer resumed farming and started his own family. He operated his own general trucking business, hauling grain, livestock, gravel, and Libby’s sweetcorn and pumpkins. He also raised livestock including cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens.
In 1962 Elmer moved his wife and three young sons to a farm in Washington, Illinois, where they built a happy family and successful farming operation. After a hard day’s work, he spent evenings hitting baseballs to his boys, teaching tricks to his dogs, and filling the country air with accordion, guitar, and harmonica music.
Spud was unfailingly honest and the definitive “people person.” He approached everyone he met as if they were dear friends and neighbors. Others knew they could count on Spud to help them in any way needed. He loved animals and enjoyed tinkering with his trucks, cars, and machinery.
He did not slow down as he aged. Even at age 86, Spud entered and placed third in a Cruger tractor pull. He continued farming on his land into his early 90s. When large tractors proved too challenging, he could be found spending hours on his riding lawnmower keeping the grass neat and trim.
Elmer was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and of the American Legion. Funeral services will be held at Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in Eureka at 10:30 am on Friday, May 26, 2023. Pastor Dick Hanson will officiate. Visitation will be held on Thursday evening from 4-6 pm at the funeral home. Burial will be in Olio Township Cemetery in Eureka.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be given in Elmer’s memory to the Mt. Zion Cemetery Association or a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.argoruestmanharris.com.