John Melville “Mel” Armstrong passed away peacefully on August 20, 2023, surrounded by family. Born May 11,1937 in Athens, TN, he moved to Lookout Mountain, TN as a young boy with his family, where he remained a resident for the rest of his life.
He graduated from The Baylor School in 1955, where he ran track and played football. He attended Davidson College where he ran track and graduated in 1961, after also serving two years in the United States Army.
Mel met his beloved wife, Sally Kay Wrenn, in 1957 at Eastover Resort in Berkshire Hills, of western Massachusetts where they worked two summers; they described this experience as, “the time of their lives.”
Mel’s professional journey was as varied as his interests. He was known for his dedication, integrity and unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of his professional life. Mel began working at Standard-Coosa-Thatcher in 1962 where he was eventually promoted to President of the yarns and threads division in 1981. He later worked for River Associates where he was the Chief Executive Officer for W. R. Case & Sons, where he assisted in the eventual sale of Case Knives to Zippo. He also received recognition for his service as Chairman of the Board for the Central YMCA of Chattanooga.
Throughout his life Mel enjoyed a number of sports activities. After football and track at Baylor, and track at Davidson, he went on to enjoy golf, ski trips with the Chattanooga Ski Club, and tennis where he was known for his tenaciousness and craftiness on the court. Besides participating in sports, Mel enjoyed Auburn football games and tailgating, playing with his grandchildren, and celebrating good times with family and friends. He loved his pets dearly, treating them as part of his family.
Mel was also known for his witty sense of humor. He loved to have fun teasing family and friends and had a knack for storytelling, often regaling tales of his youth, his athletic endeavors, or his latest tennis match; though, his favorite part was keeping one in suspense, stretching the tale, often leaving one wondering if the story would ever end.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 50 years Kay Wren Armstrong, his parents, Justin Pearl and Maud Elsie Armstrong, and siblings: Justin Armstrong, Maudie Duncan, Flo Cobey, Jenny Pohan and Betty Nevin. He is survived by his children: John Armstrong, Lucy Martin (Michael) and Sarah Mooney (Brian), grandson, Austin Armstrong (Madison) and granddaughters, Liz and Katie Mooney.
In remembering Mel, we celebrate a life well-lived. His legacy is one of love, laughter, and faith. Mel’s spirit will forever remain in the hearts of those he loved and those who loved him.
Special thanks to Story Point Assisted Living in Chattanooga, TN; Harmony at Five Forks in Simpsonville, SC; Prisma Health Hospice of the Foothills, Westville Funerals in Greenville, SC and Cornerstone Caregiving.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Prisma Health Hospice of the Foothills at 390 Keowee School Rd., Seneca, SC 29672 or McKamey Animal Center at 4500 N Access Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37415.
A visitation will be held Sunday, October 8th, from 2:30 – 4:00pm at the Lookout Mountain Town Center, located at 1214 Lula Lake Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750. There will be a private graveside service for family, Monday October 9th.