Monday, January 11, 2016

Jeff Armstrong (1951-2016)

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

Frank Sinatra channeling Jeff Armstrong

My best friend died this morning.  One measure of how good a friend Jeff was is that I'm sure many others flatter themselves with the same thought.  Jeff's best friend and guardian angel Nancy and their kids Kathryn and Gordon know that Jeff loved life and loved them.  We all love life but Jeff loved it more.  Whether at the helm, holding forth in his shop, carving wooden spoons and spatulas for friends and family, with a wrench in his hand, or ringing the bell when he sold another Yamaha outboard motor at Jeff's Marine, he luxuriated in his mock persona as "the pirate of the Midcoast".

When Jeff invited me to join him, his brother Peter, and friends Alex and Steve Pags for a fly fishing expedition to Alaska I realized that I was loved more than I had known.  For seven days we floated down the Lake Creek River from placid beginnings to raging rapids.  As we drifted down river I'd snag a few while Jeff and the others landed dozens as they flicked the lures in front of the noses of salmon and trout struggling  upstream. 
- George

At the source of the Lake Creek River

fishing the rapids