Williamsburg-Marylin Fay Armstrong peacefully passed away after a short illness on Thursday, April 6, 2023 at Highland Ridge Care Center in Williamsburg, Iowa at age 90. She was born in Bloomington, Illinois on February 26, 1933, the daughter of Edna Spaid and Ralph Ellis. She was raised by Edna and her second husband, Roy Zook, Sr. Marylin lived her life in various Illinois communities and West Des Moines, Iowa, and the last 34 years of her life were spent in her beloved Williamsburg. She graduated from Danvers High School. Marylin was united in marriage to Murray Armstrong on October 30, 1955 in Danvers, Illinois and they were blessed with three children that were the joy of her life: Mark, Kim, and Kelly. More blessings followed in the form of eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Marylin was a surprising person in many ways. A good example is that nobody would ever identify her as a “motorcycle mama” but, surprisingly, she rode on the back of a motorcycle with Murray driving on many long trips throughout the USA. Also surprising to some folks (although not to those who knew her well) was her ability to be naturally hilarious in an effortless way. Perhaps this ability was grounded in her willingness at all times to laugh heartily at herself. Her “Marylin-isms” are legendary. Her family never really understood why she sometimes hid her jewelry in the pant leg of her pajamas, but the mystery of it simply added to the humor. When asked why she stashed money in a Cool Whip container in the freezer, she explained with impeccable logic that she wanted to be sure that if her family ever faced a financial emergency they would have some “cold hard cash”. We all know people who try hard to be humorous, but aren’t; Marylin was endearingly funny without even trying.
Marylin gave freely of her time and talents as a member and church greeter at St. Paul Lutheran Church. She was a member of the Nightlights and the Red Hats, and enthusiastically played cards with her many friends. She also was a founding member of an informal but very influential group at Highland Ridge known as the “Third Floor Four O'clock Ladies Club”. In prior years she maintained employment at numerous jobs, including as a bookkeeper at Iowa State Services for Handicapped Children and Armstrong Seeds, while at the same time raising the three children she adored, and who adored her.
She is survived by a son, Mark (Anna) Armstrong of Williamsburg; two daughters, Kim White (Scott) of Clive and Kelly Wirt (Brian) of Des Moines; grandchildren Clare Duffy (Nick), Jackie Powers (Derek), Maggie Freese (Jared), John Armstrong (Kamryn), Aaron Wirt, Amelia Wirt, Hailey Wilson (Sean), and Jimmy White (Lindsay); and nine great-grandchildren: Audrey and Cora Duffy, Henry and George Powers, Lincoln and Carter Freese, Hollis Armstrong, Vera Wilson, and Christian Burton. In addition to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, those left to mourn her passing are her brothers Darel, Glen (Mary) and Doug Zook. She was predeceased by her husband, Murray; brother Roy Zook, Jr; and sisters-in-law Connie and Jynn Zook. She was deeply loved by many and will be missed by all who knew her. The family is very thankful that six weeks prior to her passing Marylin greatly enjoyed a beautiful party at Highland Ridge to celebrate her 90th birthday.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in loving memory may be made to the Williamsburg Booster Club, St. Paul Lutheran Church or the Marylin Armstrong Memorial Fund. A visitation for family and friends will be held on Thursday, April 13 from 4:00 - 7:00 at Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg. Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 14 at 10:30 AM at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Williamsburg.