In Memory – the Rev. Jean Armstrong



In Memory – the Rev. Jean Armstrong

The Rev. Jean Armstrong died peacefully at Delmanor, Richmond Hill, on Saturday 28th November, following a long journey with Vascular Dementia. We extend our sympathies to her son Stewart, daughter-in-law Margo; daughter Sioban, son-in-law Greg and grandchildren Amanda, Ashley, Liam and Quinn.

Jean was married to the Rev. Vic. Ford for a number of years and together they had two children, Sioban and Stewart. Jean went to school later in life and completed her Masters in Religions at Concordia and then received her Master of Divinity from The Presbyterian College in 1979.

Jean’s first church was Dayspring Presbyterian in the Edmonton-Lakeland Presbytery in Alberta. She moved back East in 1986 to become the Minister of Glebe Presbyterian Church in East Toronto. In 1992 she became the Associate Secretary of Ministry and Church Vocations, Life and Mission Agency at the National Offices in Toronto.

In 1996 Jean started her last church ministry at Riverdale Presbyterian. She guided the congregation through a renewal process that saw a huge portion of the church sold and a Sunday School section renovated for a new sanctuary. She retired a few months after the new building was dedicated in 2003.

Jean went back to school later in life and completed most of her schooling while raising her two children. She was passionate about teaching people to share their faith. She believed that if we shared the experience of God simply and with no judgement or coercion people would listen. She was proud of the work she did to teach people how to share their faith story in an open and honest way. Jean was a strong and determined woman. She had great wisdom and compassion. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a joyful spirit.

She worshipped at Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church at the time of her death. A memorial service will be planned at Richmond Hill for some time next Spring or whenever the restrictions on church numbers are relaxed.

— We thank the Rev. Dr. Karen Bach for preparation of the above narrative of Jean’s life.

Brief words of reflection from Cathy Dutka Victor

Jean and my husband Ian Victor studied together at The Presbyterian College Montreal . Our first child was born during that time and to alleviate some of the stay home loneliness I would sometimes drive in to the College with Ian and our baby Daniel. I enjoyed visiting with his fellow students in the lounge and over meals. I especially remember our times being together with Jean, and listening to them commiserate over studies and papers.

There was plenty of laughter of course. They graduated together in 1979 and I remember the celebrating we all did together. Ian and I headed off to Eckville Alberta where he served in the church there, while Jean went to Dayspring a bit north of us in Edmonton. We stayed in touch over the years, but mostly through church events. However I always held Jean and the other women in that class in high esteem. Without me realizing it at the time Jean and the other women of the class of ‘79 planted seeds in me that influenced my own call to ministry many years later. And so I give thanks for the Rev. Jean Armstrong who is now commiserating with, as Bruce Cockburn would say, The Festival of Friends.

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