John Armstrong Jr.
John C. Armstrong Jr., 86 a well-known resident and businessman in Pownal, Vermont passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.
John was born in Bennington, VT on July 10, 1931, the son of the late John C. Armstrong Sr., MD and Nellie (Mason) Armstrong. He received his education in North Bennington and was a 1949 graduate of North Bennington High School. In 1952, John graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA with a degree in Mortuary Science and then worked at the Hanson Walbridge Funeral Home in Bennington for a short time.
He joined the United States Army in 1954 and was stationed in Germany until being honorably discharged in 1956. Following his service, John attended the University of Vermont on the GI Bill, where he met Frances Judd. They married on June 10, 1959, and began their life together in Pownal.
John opened a basket stand on Old Route 7 while working at the Green Mountain Race Track for several years. In 1962, he opened the Pownal View Barn and continuously expanded the business throughout the years. John had an incredible entrepreneurial spirit and he was always looking for new and exciting business opportunities. One of the many highlights of John’s career was the annual Pownal View Barn Auction, held the first Saturday in August. He later established the Hillside House in 1985. Retirement never entered John’s mind, and he remained active in the business right up until his passing.
A longtime member of the Cairo Shriners, John served as Potentate, Director General of the Northeast Shrine Association and Director of the Jesters. He was instrumental in establishing Cairo Shriner’s Bingo in Pownal. He was a Life Member of the Bennington Lodge of Elks # 567 and a member of the Pownal American Legion Post #90. He was also a former member of the Bennington Lions Club.
In addition to his business and community activities, John was known for his love of travel and socialization. He and Fran traveled extensively throughout the world, and visited all seven continents! He was a train enthusiast and they frequently traveled by train. John was always looking forward to his next adventure, and would make friends wherever he traveled. An avid reader, John would read numerous newspapers and business publications daily in search of a new excursion or business opportunity. A favorite place of John’s was the Man of Kent, where he was a regular customer since it was first established. John took great pride in still owning his very first car – a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster, which he had completely restored several years ago. He enjoyed nothing more than a fine meal with his family and got a great deal of pride and satisfaction by introducing his children and grandchildren to fine dining whether it was a gourmet meal prepared by Fran or at one of his favorite restaurants. Much to everyone’s delight, John would always insist on having filet mignon and Alaskan King crab legs for Christmas dinner.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years Frances Armstrong of Pownal. Their children and spouses, Cindi Lou LaFountain (Robert) of Peru, NY, John C. Armstrong III (Rebecca) of Pownal and Howard Armstrong (Alicia) of Pownal. A sister, JoAnn Adams (Gordon) of Rutland, VT. Six grandchildren Gregory (Ashtin), Justin, Jenna LaFountain and Amara, Nicholas and Mariah Armstrong. A nephew, Daniel Anderson (Theresa) and a niece, Betsy Anderson.
A celebration of John’s life will be held at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John C. Armstrong Jr. may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 516 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104 or the Shriners Burns Hospital, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114. Guest book condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net