Early Monday morning, the entirety of Blue Mountain woke up to the news that we had lost a legend. Ms. Johnnie Armstrong has passed quietly from this world onto the next in a New Albany nursing home. Her health had been declining over the course of the past year, and while the blow was painful, it was not unexpected.
While the college grieved, many first year students were left with a question they were too afraid to voice: who was the woman and why was she so important to Blue Mountain?
Simply put, Ms, Johnnie is Blue Mountain College. Dedicating over sixty years of her life to the school, Armstrong taught physical education classes well into her seventies. Ms. Johnnie also held the coveted position of Blue Mountain athletics’ biggest fan and acted as an avid advocate for intramural activities on campus.
However, her legacy isn’t held within the positions she occupied within the school. Wherever she went, Ms. Johnnie touched lives: as an active member of Lowrey Memorial Baptist church, friend to all, and unshakable force of nature. Conservative, hardworking, and possessing an unmistakable humor as well as kindness, Armstrong lit up every classroom she entered, commanding the respect of students and faculty alike. Even administration held a healthy reverence and awe for the woman.
Though, arguably, the most memorable legacy Ms. Johnnie leaves behind is the way she loved Blue Mountain College. Unmarried her entire life, Armstrong joked that she had chosen to commit herself to the school, bound in matrimony to her work. Upon seeing her passion for the college, no one could doubt it. The woman demonstrated a servant’s heart, day in and day out, working alongside students and staff, loving them with the love of Christ.
The passing of a such a legend has left an unmistakable hole in the heart of the college. No longer will she traverse the campus she loved so much. Now she dances in heaven, unburdened of the pain of living. Memorial services in her honor were held on campus in the main auditorium and October 9th has been declared ‘Armstrong Day.’ All students were invited to wear blue and gold as Blue Mountain College celebrated the life of such a remarkable woman.
Thank you, Ms. Johnnie Armstrong. You will be missed.