Bishop Armstrong Dies

Diocesan Press Service. May 6, 1964 [XXI-14]

The Rt. Rev. Joseph Gillespie Armstrong, Bishop of Pennsylvania, died April 23 in his Bryn Mawr, Pa., home. He was 63 years old.

A requiem service was held April 27 in St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Ardmore, Pa. That afternoon a memorial diocesan service took place in Holy Trinity Church, West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D. C.

Bishop Armstrong had spearheaded Episcopal Church work in the Diocese of Pennsylvania for only nine months at the time of his death. He had previously served the diocese as its Suffragan Bishop from 1949 until 1960, when he was elected Bishop Coadjutor. He automatically succeeded the Rt. Rev. Oliver James Hart as Bishop of Pennsylvania when Bishop Hart retired on July 19, 1963.

Bishop Armstrong will be succeeded by the Rt. Rev. Robert L. DeWitt, who was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the diocese in December. Bishop DeWitt just took office the first of April.

Prior to his election to the episcopate in 1949, Bishop Armstrong for nine years was rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Ardmore, Pa. During three of those years, however, he took a leave of absence from his parish to serve as a chaplain in the U. S. Navy during World War II.

Bishop Armstrong was born in Warren, Pa., October 15, 1901, but was raised in Virginia. He received a B.A. degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., in 1928 and the degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology from General Theological Seminary in 1932. He was ordained to the Episcopal ministry in 1931.

During his early ministry, Bishop Armstrong was rector of Severn Parish in Waterbury, Md., and of Christ Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

In the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Bishop Armstrong had served as Provincial Vice-President of the General Theological Seminary Alumni Association, a trustee of the seminary, chairman of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. He also was a member of the diocesan executive council and a Deputy to the 1949 General Convention.

At the time of his death, Bishop Armstrong was a member of the Urban Industrial Division of the National Council and a trustee of the Philadelphia Divinity School.

Bishop Armstrong is survived by his wife, one step-daughter, Mrs. Richard Ketchum of Bronxville, N. Y.; and two step-grandchildren.