James Clifford Armstrong, Jr., 93, passed peacefully Monday, April 18, 2011 at home in Jackson, TN. He was born February 15, 1918 to Alice Diffee Armstrong and James Clifford Armstrong, Sr.
Clifford (or Jim, as he was known professionally) grew up in Jackson, TN and graduated high school in 1935. Clifford studied civil engineering and commerce at UT Knoxville but left early figuring he'd rather join the Army than be drafted, but he was deferred entry for poor eyesight. He found an alternate way to contribute to the war effort by working at the TNT plant in Millington, TN until the Army decided in 1941 that his eyesight wasn't so bad after all. Clifford achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant with the 672 Field Artillery Battalion based out of Fort Jackson, served in the European Theater, and was honorably discharged in 1944 whereupon he returned home to Jackson.
Clifford was drawn to the big city and moved to Chicago in 1945 to live with his Army friend whose brother had an Advertising at studio business. This was a life changing opportunity that would lead to a pioneering career and Clifford's work-life passion. Clifford's first job in advertising was with Goldman & Gross in 1945 as a copywriter. When the agency lost their biggest account Clifford lost his first job in advertising but that didn't deter him. Clifford quickly found a position with the Armour Company in their marketing department from 1946-50.
In 1950 he was offered a position as an account executive with advertising giant N.W. Ayer and moved from Chicago to Philadelphia. With a solid career path in front of him, Clifford proposed to his future wife, Phyllis Frankland of Jackson, TN and they were wed December 29, 1953. They returned to Bryn Mawr, PA and where their first child, Leonard, was born. A promotion and transfer to Lake Forest, IL in 1954 brought another child, Philip. A promotion and transfer to Burlingame, CA in 1956 brought a third child and their only daughter, Alicen, shortly thereafter.
A friend with Young & Rubicam Advertising in Los Angeles recruited Clifford to manage the Hunt Foods account which brought the family to San Marino, CA in 1958. Within two years Clifford was managing the Y&R Los Angeles office, eventually becoming Senior Vice President of Y&R for the West Coast. His success at work was accompanied by a fourth child, Cliff. In 1970 the call came from the Y&R New York headquarters for Clifford to relocate there for a bigger, better, and more lucrative job. Clifford declined, putting his family above his job. Clifford continued to consult in the advertising/marketing field until his children completed their schooling after which he and Phyllis returned to Jackson, TN in 1982.
James Clifford Armstrong will forever be remembered as a loving, devoted, godly husband, father, father-in-law and friend to all that knew him. He was a man of few words whose keen insight and dry wit kept everyone on their best behavior. Clifford's quest for knowledge never stopped and he was always willing to share what he had learned.
Clifford was preceded in death by his mother, Alice Diffee Armstrong, his father James Clifford Armstrong, Sr., and sister Betty Armstrong Lawrence. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife Phyllis Frankland Armstrong, sister Carol Armstrong Frankland, beloved neice Elizabeth Lawrence Gifford and children Leonard of Tampa FL, Philip (Todd) of Louisville, CO, Alicen of Eliot, ME and Cliff of Austin, TX and 7 grandchildren.