William L. Armstrong is remembered as a man of success — in business, politics, family and faith.
The theme of his funeral service was a phrase he often recited:
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
“There’s no more fitting theme to Bill’s life,” said Cherri Parks, vice president of academic affairs of Colorado Christian University, “no more fitting theme to this service.”
Parks delivered the eulogy at Armstrong’s funeral service on July 15 at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch.
Thousands of guests, including political leaders, businesspeople and Christian families, gathered in the church’s auditorium to honor the life of the former U.S. senator, who died July 5 at the age of 79 following a five-year battle with cancer.
The church’s auditorium radiated rich hues of blue with two photos of the political leader sitting center stage. A remembrance video kicked off the service with a recollection of memories, political milestones and personal tributes.
The day of the service marked the 54th wedding anniversary of Armstrong and his wife, Ellen. He’s survived by her, their two children and eight grandchildren.
Armstrong’s death marked “a five-year fight with cancer but more importantly, a life well lived,” Parks said at the service.
Armstrong served in the state House (1963-64) and state Senate (1965-72), before being elected to the U.S. House (1973-78) and Senate (1979-1990). During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Armstrong was a member of the finance, budget and banking committees and spent six years as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.
He was also a man of many business endeavors:
• Armstrong landed his first real job as a radio disc jockey at 11 years old. He then pursued an interest in broadcast and served as the president of Denver radio stations KEZW and KOSI-FM.
• He worked in several different businesses with his son Wil, including Cherry Creek Mortgage Company.
• He was the founder and chairman of Blueberry Systems, a financial software solution company and the director of several public companies, including Oppenheimer Funds and International Family Entertainment, Inc.
• Armstrong served as president of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood since 2006 — although he never graduated from college.
“It was the last thing on Bill’s mind when he was approached to become the president of Colorado Christian University,” Parks said, fighting back tears.
“He called his work at the university, `The most significant, energizing and rewarding work I’ve ever undertaken.’ ”
In February, Armstrong announced he would be retiring as president of Colorado Christian later this year.
Armstrong’s daughter, Anne Armstrong Nordby, remembered her father as a humorous man devoted to his faith and family.
He enjoyed ice cream for dinner, she said. He considered his dog the world’s most wonderful canine. He made his family laugh every single day. And he took care of them every single day.
“He had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the room and he was really glad to be with you,” she said. “And guess what — he was.”