John Cole Armstrong (67) passed away in Lubbock on Friday, December 6, 2019, surrounded by family after a lengthy illness.
John was born January 24, 1952, in Pecos, Texas, to Weldon Scott Armstrong, Sr. and Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Billeiter Armstrong. Growing up in Pecos, he was involved in boy scouts and FFA, and played the trumpet in Mr. Carrico’s marching band. He graduated from Pecos High School in 1970.
After attending Sul Ross State University, John made a living as a ranch hand and as a welder for the Ortloff Corporation. He soon began his long career as a cowman and spent much of the 70’s raising cattle across West Texas in partnerships with his brother Scott Jr. and cousin Max Stapleton.
In 1981 he hired a ranch hand named Elizabeth “Sam” Bass from Marvell, Arkansas. On December 28, 1981, they were married. They had two children, John Cole Armstrong, Jr. and William Chester Armstrong.
In 1992, John realized his lifelong dream of owning his own ranch when he purchased the Polly Hollebeke ranch in northern Culberson County . . . just in time for the 90’s drought. To make the payments through hard times, he turned his energies to opportunities outside of the cattle industry. John began a produce business selling tomatoes from the Village Farms greenhouses in Ft. Davis to stores, restaurants, and even the Albertsons warehouse in Ft. Worth. He even took the position of Precinct 4 Constable for a time. Many long days and millions of tomatoes later, John paid off the ranch note two years ahead of schedule.
For over three decades, John ranched in Culberson and Reeves County. In 2015, he and Sam moved from Pecos to a farm just outside Balmorhea, where he grew hay with his sons and relaxed with his coon-hounds and his pet longhorns. He will forever be remembered for his work ethic, his laughter, and his enduring friendships.
John was preceded in death by his father Weldon Scott Armstrong and his mother Elizabeth Billeiter Armstrong. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Armstrong, his sons John Armstrong Jr. and William Armstrong, brother Scott Armstrong, Jr. (Regina), sister April Armstrong Perez (Rudy), and brother David Armstrong (Vickie), a slew of cousins, and a host of friends.
Funeral Services for John Armstrong will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, December 13, 2019, at the First Baptist Church (423 S. Hickory St.) in Pecos, followed by burial at the Balmorhea Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the United Methodist Church of Balmorhea- Building Fund or Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch (calfarley.org).
Services are under the direction of Pecos Funeral Home.
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