The Rev. Jean Armstrong died peacefully on Saturday, November 28 at Delmanor in Richmond Hill, Ontario, following a long journey with Vascular Dementia. She will be missed by her son Stewart, daughter-in-law Margo; daughter Sioban, son-in-law Greg and grandchildren Amanda, Ashley, Liam and Quinn.
Jean went back to school as an adult and completed most of her schooling while raising her two children. She graduated from Presbyterian College in 1979, and was among the first women to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister.
Her first church after graduating from Presbyterian College in Montreal was Dayspring Presbyterian, in Edmonton, Alberta. She moved back East in 1986 to become the minister of Glebe Presbyterian Church in Toronto. In 1992, she became the Associate Secretary of Ministry and Church Vocations at the national offices of the Presbyterian Church in Toronto. One of her major focuses there was the development of a Sexual Abuse and Harassment Policy for the PCC.
In 1996, Jean started her last church ministry at Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Toronto. She guided the congregation through a renewal process that saw the large unused sanctuary sold and the Sunday school half of the building renovated as the new sanctuary. Jean and the Board of Trustees interviewed several architects, searching for one who understood sacred spaces. The result was a beautiful restoration and upgrade.
She retired a few months after the new building was dedicated in 2003.
Jean was passionate about teaching people to share their faith. She was proud of the work she did to teach people how to share their faith stories in an open and honest way. She believed that, if we share the experience of God simply and with no judgement or coercion, people will listen.
Jean was a strong and determined woman. She had great wisdom and compassion, a wonderful sense of humor and a joyful spirit.
She worshipped at Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church until she was no longer able to attend. A memorial service will be planned there next Spring or whenever the restrictions on church numbers are relaxed. If you wish, donations in her memory may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.