Obituary: Harry Armstrong

Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 18:30:32-05

Harry Armstrong of Belgrade—beloved grandfather, father, brother, Patriarch, and humble servant to all—went home to be with his Lord and Savior on December 26, 2021, at the age of 78 years young due to heart complications.

Harry John Armstrong was born on January 10, 1943, in Miles City, Montana to Elsie and Ralph Armstrong. Before the age of one his family bought the family ranch north of Bozeman where he was raised and went to school at the one-room schoolhouse at the bottom of the hill, Reese Creek School House, until eighth grade. He always let everyone know that he was the Valedictorian of his class, his class of one. Harry then went on and graduated from Belgrade High School in 1961 before attending Montana State University and then on to his beloved Marine Corps. During this time Harry had the honor of representing the United States Marine Corps Shooting Team and got to travel all over competing for his beloved Corps. Shortly after this he met his first wife, Elvia, and had his first two children, John and Anna. When he got out of the Marines he went into work overseas for an Aeronautics firm bringing his family with him abroad.

Coming home to the states he started a computer company with a few colleagues called ADS and helped bring the first desktop computer to market that eventually led to him meeting his second wife, Cathy Irwin, and they wed in 1978. They had two children together, Matthew and Elizabeth. At this time he began his work with Novell Software and as Senior Vice President helped market and develop the brand internationally making Novell one of the powerhouse tech firms of the 80’s. Due to the high output and stress of his position, and a doctor telling him to slow down, Harry retired from Novell and started his life’s true passion, ranching.

Harry moved his family to Geneva, Idaho in 1986 and built one of the largest purebred and commercial operations of its day all based around the beloved breed he helped import to the United States, Piedmontese. From this point Harry extended his reach and expanded his operation from Idaho to Wyoming and eventually back to Montana in 1991 where he decided to transition to Organic Beef and became the first Montana USDA Organic Beef producer starting in 1993.

In 1997 Harry decided to slow down a bit more, sold the vast empire he had built, and moved the family back to the original Bozeman Ranch site and to the home and property he loved so much as a child. He downsized the herd to an easily manageable size to focus on what mattered most to him. The Lord and his family.

Harry was known in his later years as a tremendous man of God who would be willing to help anyone. He raised his youngest daughter as a single Father on the family ranch in Bozeman. He was a constant at all of the events at Belgrade and Manhattan Christian School throughout his son and daughter’s time there and grew to think of MCHS as a second family. He also became extremely involved in his Church Family at Springhill Legacy where he attended church most Sundays for the last 25 years. At church he also began a Cadet’s Boys Club where he was able to mentor countless young men.

Harry’s other passion was his beloved Marine Corps. He was heavily involved in the Marine Corps League and helped countless of his brothers in arms through the years. He gave selflessly to the Gold Star Foundation and spent many years as Commandant of his local league, organizing and leading all of their events. There are very few veterans in the Gallatin Valley or Montana who have not been impacted by Harry in some way.

In the last six years of his life Harry met his final love, Louise Edwards. They were married and enjoyed their time driving Uber, selling beef from the beef trailer, and going to the Lady Bobcat games together all while maintaining a small herd of cattle.

Harry is survived by his wife, Louise Armstrong; children John (Sandy) Armstrong, Anna (Jeff) Stine, Matthew (Jodi) Armstrong, and Elizabeth (Matt) Majors. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Elsie Armstrong; sister, Judith Millage; and his wife, Cathy Irwin.

The Family is forever grateful for your outpouring of love and support. A Graveside Service will be held at 1:30 P.M. on January the 5th at Sunset Hills Cemetery with a reception to follow at Springhill Legacy, 9855 Walker Road, Belgrade.

With love we will miss his contagious smile and know that he is up there smiling at all of us.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []