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1925 Mary 2023

Mary K. Armstrong

October 31, 1925 — April 7, 2023

Mary Katherine Armstrong

October 31, 1925 – April 7, 2023

Mary Katherine Armstrong, age 97, affectionately known as Katy or Sister Mary to her family and friends, died Friday, April 7, 2023, at the Crowley County Nursing Center in Ordway. Katy was born October 31, 1925, to George Alfred and Halla Laughlin Norton at home in the Crowley County dryland community known as Grandview. She was always proud of being a Halloween born baby and being delivered at home on the dryland by neighbors serving as midwives, as Doc Van didn’t make it in time for the birth.

Katy attended school at the Grandview Country School and a short time in Olney Springs. She’d tell of playing baseball out on the prairie for the Grandview Nine. She was a good student and desired to attend High School and a career in teaching or nursing, but living out on the dryland made attending High School in Olney Springs prohibitive. She grew up in a farm family, the second child of seven, during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. She knew how to work hard. She helped her Mother with cooking and caring for younger siblings and helped her Father with Chickens and Eggs, milking cows, and gathering the milk cows from pasture on her horse, Norma. She loved to tell you about riding her horse as a girl, including the time she was knocked unconscious by lightning on horseback and her horse brought her back home.

Katy married Cecil Armstrong in Raton, New Mexico, on August 21, 1944. They farmed and ranched in the ‘north country’ for six years, first on the Armstrong Ranch at Antelope Springs and then on the Metz Place north of Grandview. Through hard work and some good crop years and higher cattle prices in the late 1940’s they were able to buy a farm just south of Olney Springs in 1950. The 1950s also saw children born, Audrey and Roy. The purchase of a larger farm, the Boston Farm, at Olney Springs followed in 1961, with Robert born in 1962. The family farmed, ranched, and had a cattle operation and continued to add acreage and grow.

She loved cattle, ranching, and farm work, and many of you know her by always seeing her out working or checking cattle on the Olney Springs Family Farm and Ranch clear up until she was 92. She was proud that she still owned the farm and water they purchased in 1961. She fed bale upon bale of alfalfa to cattle and mixed up untold amounts of milk replacer to raise hundreds of bottle calves off Holstein milk cows and helped both her sons, Roy and Robert, in their respective dairy farms. She was known in the community during Silage harvest as a truck driver, hauling truckloads of Corn Silage every late Summer and Fall.

To her family and neighbors she was always offering you something to eat, or, if you needed, a home remedy, serving as ‘Dr. Granny’. Ever the optimist, as hope was the only thing that got them through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, and many subsequent droughts since, she would say ‘everything is going to be okay, tomorrow will be better’, or would sing some of the hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’. With a strong mind, but failing body at age 92 Katy moved into assisted living in La Junta, close to two of her children and some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and at 96 moved back to Crowley County to the Nursing Center, and near her son Robert of Ordway. She was ever proud of her home county.

A long life, well lived, a blessing to all who knew her. She will be laid to rest next to her Husband of sixty-four years, Cecil, who preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by her parents George Alfred and Halla Laughlin Norton, brothers Joe and Jack Norton, and infant Grandchildren Emily and Amy Armstrong. Survived by siblings; Phyllis Pfeiff, Ferrel Edens, Jake (Sheila) Norton, and Jerry (Karen) Norton. Her children; Audrey (Bill) Varner, Roy (Beverly) Armstrong, Robert (Rita) Armstrong. Grandchildren; Tracie Jones, Tim Varner, Kara Varner, Aaron Armstrong, Amber Fowler, Anna Armstrong, Adam Armstrong. Nine Great-Grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family, friends and neighbors.

Graveside Funeral Service and burial will take place at Fowler Cemetery on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 2:00 p.m, with BJ Ballard of Solid Rock Baptist Church officiating. Memorials may be made to Arkansas Valley Hospice.

Online condolences may be made at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary K. Armstrong, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, April 14, 2023

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