Obituary of Bernadine C. Armstrong
Bernadine (Bunny) Claire Armstrong, age 83, passed into the arms of our Lord on Sunday, October 22, 2023, in the presence of her loving husband at the Masonic Village Health Care Center, in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, from Alzheimer’s Disease. She was a woman of enduring strength, endless courage, and boundless love for her family and friends. Her captivating smile and Christian way of living will always remain in our hearts and minds. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bernhard and Clara Kvamme, and her brother, James Kvamme.
Bernadine was born on February 28, 1940, in Malta, Montana. She graduated as Salutatorian from Malta High School in 1958, was twice recipient of the John Phillip Sousa award for excellence in music, and remained close with her classmates, attending several high school reunions. Bernadine attended St. Oaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and graduated with a degree in music in 1962. She was a three-year member of the St. Olaf Choir under the direction of Olaf Christenson and the first to be in the choir while married. She was proud of her 100% Norwegian heritage.
Bernadine met her future husband, Charles Howard Armstrong in Malta on December 26, 1959 — it was love at first sight for both. They were married in Malta on July 9, 1961, following her husband’s graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1961. For the next 31 years, she was an active Army wife who supported soldiers and their families at every military base where her husband was assigned from New York to California, Virginia to Hawaii, and seven states in between. Montana was a crossroads, the place where she would go when her husband was deployed to Vietnam. Her four sons were born across the country over a decade: John in Malta, Montana, Peter in Honolulu, Hawaii, Charles in Billings, Montana, and Michael at West Point, New York.
Bernadine led many officer’s wives clubs and chorus groups, starting at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1966, and concluding at Fort Lewis, Washington, in 1990. In 1991, she received two Army Commander’s Awards for Public Service in recognition of her care for the welfare of soldiers and families at Fort Lewis and for her 31 years of faithful service as an Army wife. Across the moves and stations, Bernadine taught piano in her home studio to generations of elementary, middle, and high school students and served as choir director and organist in Army chapels.
Following Army retirement, the Armstrong’s settled in Mechanicsburg, PA, for 28 years. Bernadine had a second career as a real-estate agent, primarily for Jack Gaughn Real Estate Company of Camp Hill, PA. She enjoyed helping her clients and their families find homes, rather than selling them houses. Bernadine was very active in the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. She was a strong supporter of the Lutheran Gettysburg Seminary and served on the Board of Directors for the Seminary’s endowment fund. She traveled with Seminary faculty lead groups to Rome, the Holy Land and Turkey and attended countless continuing education courses on the Gettysburg Campus. She was an avid traveler who also enjoyed many European river cruises. In 2019, the Armstrong’s moved to the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA. Bernadine sang in both the Women Chorus and the Sell Chapel Chorus and participated in Bible Study groups twice weekly. She was also engaged in numerous Village continuing education forums.
Bernadine is survived by her husband of 62 years, Charles H.; son Doctor John H. (wife Dr. Jodie); son Doctor and Colonel (Ret.) Peter J. (wife Peggy); son Colonel (Ret.) Charles S. (wife Kelly); and son Michael D. Armstrong. She has left a legacy of music that continues to brighten the lives of her family members, piano students, and choir members.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution to Sell Chapel, One Masonic Drive, Masonic Village, Elizabethtown, PA 17022 is suggested.
A memorial service will be held in Sell Memorial Chapel located at Masonic Village of Elizabethtown, 200 Freemason Dr., Elizabethtown, PA 17022, on Monday October 30, 2023, at 11:00 AM. There will be no public viewing. Inurnment of her ashes will be at West Point, New York in a private ceremony. To express a condolence with the family visit www.spencefuneralservices.com or to view a livestream of the service visit https://my.gather.app/remember/bernadine-bunny-armstrong.