Cleston Lee "Army" Armstrong September 17, 1920--February 28, 2012 God's finger touched him, and he slept. --Alfred Lord Tennyson Cleston Lee "Army" Armstrong passed from this life in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. He was 91. Army was born September 17, 1920 on his uncle's farm near Ellisville, Mississippi. He grew up hard during the depths of the Great Depression, but even as a young man, Army had big dreams and the determination to make them come true. In 1939 he graduated as Valedictorian from Jones County High School, and in 1941 he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Jones County Junior...
Cleston Lee "Army" Armstrong
September 17, 1920--February 28, 2012
God's finger touched him, and he slept.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson
Cleston Lee "Army" Armstrong passed from this life in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. He was 91. Army was born September 17, 1920 on his uncle's farm near Ellisville, Mississippi. He grew up hard during the depths of the Great Depression, but even as a young man, Army had big dreams and the determination to make them come true. In 1939 he graduated as Valedictorian from Jones County High School, and in 1941 he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Jones County Junior College. Army was Valedictorian of his junior college class, as well as editor of the college newspaper and yearbook, and president of the literary society. Army aspired to be a college professor, and continued his education at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in English Literature. His plan was derailed in December of 1941, near the end of his first semester at Southern Miss, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Army completed his final exams, withdrew from school, and joined the U.S. Army.
After basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Army was assigned to the Ordnance Corps and sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for advanced weapons training. While in Maryland, in January of 1942, Army married his college sweetheart, Orpal Trammell, in the Johns Hopkins University chapel. Immediately following their wedding, Army was shipped to North Africa where he participated in campaigns in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Following victory in North Africa, Army participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy, including the liberation of Rome. After VE Day in 1945, Army departed Naples and traveled by sea to the Philippines, where he served with American occupation forces on the island of Luzon. In 1946, by then a highly decorated veteran, Army returned to the states and resumed civilian life.
Army began his career with the Gulf Oil Corporation as a seismographer at their field office in Laurel Mississippi. After being transferred to Shreveport, Army completed his bachelor's degree in Petroleum Geology from Centenary College of Louisiana, graduating magna cum laude in 1953. After graduation Army completed a geology internship with Gulf, then began his new position as a petroleum geologist. His professional career would eventually span five decades and included stops in Louisiana, West Virginia, Kansas, Texas, and finally Oklahoma City. Along the way Army earned a master's degree in geophysics, and received numerous promotions and professional recognitions. Army was legendary in the petroleum industry and it was rumored that Gulf would not drill a well without first receiving his approval. By the end of his career he was responsible for managing Gulf's oil and gas exploration activities for the Southwestern United States. In 1983, after almost 38 years of service, Army retired as Gulf's Chief Regional Geologist.
Even in retirement, Army was never a man of leisure. He had many interests and was rarely idle. Army was fluent in French, a voracious reader, expert photographer, an amateur Creole chef, master carpenter, shade tree mechanic, and a highly regarded biblical scholar. He was generous with his time and talents in his church and in his community, and was usually the first to volunteer when a friend or neighbor needed assistance. Above all else, Army was a loving husband and devoted father who never tired of hearing about the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
Army was preceded in death by his parents, sister Christine, brothers James, Luther, and John, daughter Kathryn Armstrong Bertram, son Stephen Armstrong, and his wife of 67 years, Orpal Trammell Armstrong. He is survived by his son Lee Armstrong and wife Kathy Guthrie of Austin, Texas, granddaughter Erin Hatcher and husband Jason of Frisco, Texas, grandson Dr. Clay Armstrong and wife Brooke Martin of Nanaimo, British Columbia, granddaughter Margaret Howe and husband Brandon of Oklahoma City, grandson Alex Bertram and wife Yada of Midwest City, and great grandchildren Lily, Emma and Addison Armstrong, Caroline and Molly Hatcher, and Tygun Bertram.
Husband, father, and proud patriot, Army cast a giant shadow. We shall miss him dearly but find comfort in these words from Revelations: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Arrangements under the direction of Guardian Funeral Homes West Chapel, Oklahoma City, OK.