Agnes Rustuen Armstrong
September 26, 1921 – March 10, 2023
101 Years +
Agnes was a long time resident of Kalispell and Flathead Lake, the granddaughter and great granddaughter of a Flathead County farm family. She was born in Grass Range, Montana to Arthur Rustuen and Hazle Harrod Rustuen. Agnes grew up on her father’s ranch near Grass Range and attended Chippewa School, a one room school house a few miles from the ranch. As a working ranch there was much to do, including tending the herd of sheep her father added to the cattle that was the original focus of the ranch. She graduated from Fergus County High School, including one year at Roosevelt High school in Seattle.
With the onset of World War 2, Agnes was employed by the US Gypsum plant near Lewistown, Montana and attended USO social events. At one of those USO dances at the Civic Center she met Richard Mack Armstrong (Mack), who was assigned to the Army Air Corps base in Great Falls. He had been assigned quartermaster duties at the Lewistown airbase before assignment to England where he served the remainder of the war. They corresponded through the war and reunited when Mack was discharged from the Army.
Agnes and Mack built their first house in Lewistown, one of the first in many years after the depression years of the 1930’s utilizing the GI Bill Mack earned from is army service. Their life journey then took them to raising a young family, residing at a Montana Power substation in Lewistown, eventually relocating to be near Agnes’ family in Kalispell. There they built another house, eventually developing their property on Flathead Lake. She lived there until her death, having lost her life partner many years prior, but sharing “The Lake” with her family and friends.
Agnes worked in retail stores in Kalispell while raising five children, all of whom currently survive her: Gay Yvette (Armstrong) Nardi, Lois Armstrong, Rose (Armstrong) Lono, Richard (Dick) Armstrong and Donald (Don) Armstrong; also her sister Rita Feyk. Agnes is also survived by 10 grandchildren,19 great-grandchildren,13 great-great-grandchildren and their spouses. Stores at which she worked included Gambles, Diana Shop, Buttrey’s and K-Mart. She occupied her time sewing much of her three daughters’ clothing and working in her garden and yard. Notably, the raspberry patch which originated from her mothers’ garden on the ranch is still prolific and has a number of patches in Montana, Washington, Oregon and California from starts taken from her garden by family and friends. One of her favorite presents from family was a pile of manure for her garden, a picture of her standing atop it wearing her cowboy boots and Oshkosh overalls still exists. It has been noted that she was an example to other women of positive strength, ahead of her time.
Agnes, Mack and family were active in the First Presbyterian Church of Kalispell and the Dayton Presbyterian Church for many years, as well as the Women of Rollins club. She had strong opinions about local and national politics and wrote very lucid letters to the editor of the local newspaper.
A celebration of her life well lived and interment with Mack at the Conrad Cemetery in Kalispell will be scheduled this summer, as she would have preferred no one on the roads at this time of year.
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