Cover photo for Arnold Armstong's Obituary
Arnold Armstong Profile Photo
1926 Arnold 2017

Arnold Armstong

November 29, 1926 — May 11, 2017

Arnold Jesse Armstrong life-long resident and businessman in the Mission Valley passed away quietly in the night May 11, 2017 aged 90 years.

Arnold (Arnie) was born in Pablo to Hermine L. Armstrong (nee Carstens) and Percy W. Armstrong on Nov. 29, 1926. He was the second of four children; Keith, Nettie and Carol – all deceased.

He is survived by his wife Pat Havlovick-Armstrong and two sons, Lonne of Ronan and Allen (Jennifer Devlen) of Shippensburg Pennsylvania, his granddaughter Madeline also of Shippensburg and several nieces and nephews.

Arnold was raised on the family farm west of Pablo. He went to primary school in Pablo and attended high school in both Polson and Ronan graduating early from Ronan when he was drafted into the army in 1945. In the army he served in an artillery battalion where he served in the Pacific theater. Upon returning from the war Arnie attended the University of Montana for two years before moving to California where he worked as a laborer and delivery driver for several years. At the outbreak of the Korean War family matters compelled Arnie to return to Montana where he worked for Pepsi-Cola until 1952.

In September 6, 1952 Arnie married Lucella M. Folden of Polson and they set up residence in Ronan. Two years later their first son Allen was born followed by Lonne in the fall of 1956.

Arnie, Lucella and Arnie’s lifelong friend Lloyd Ingraham went into business together in late 1952 with a Texaco dealership on Main Street in Ronan. Lucella managed the books and accounts and Arnie ran the station.  They would remain in the gas and tire business for the next 43 years until Lucella’s death in 1995. Over the years they moved and expanded their businesses, at one time owning the Texaco and Phillips 66 dealerships in Ronan and a Texaco station and bulk dealership in Sidney MT.  For the last 35 years Arnie’s primary business has been Arnie’s Gas and Tire on highway 93 in Ronan. Arnie remained active and involved in the operation of this business until his death, a career spanning 64 years.

On January 20, 2004 Arnie married Patricia Havlovick (nee Yanzick). While they continued to live in Ronan, Pat and Arnie traveled extensively in their retirement and were constantly on the move visiting family and friends. Arnie was welcomed into Pat’s family. Penny (Ted), Peg, Brad and Brian (Lisa) and their combined 7 children were a source of great pride and pleasure.

Arnie had a deep love of people and community. He chose to live in Montana for its people, its splendor and its sense of place. Throughout his life he took an active role in both the commercial and civic life of Ronan. For many years he served on the city council, he served as police commissioner for the town and he was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and many other civic organizations. Arnie’s contributions to the betterment of the Ronan community are numerous. He was instrumental in the development of the ball fields and rodeo grounds in Ronan. Helping design and seeing the old CCC era bleachers moved to their current location. In later years Arnie took an active interest in the local VFW chapter where, well into his 80’s, with the VFW’s sponsorship he organized and revived the annual Ronan Fishing Derby on Spring Creek. This was a tradition that he and others had started back in the early 60’s but had fallen from fashion. He took particular delight and pride in seeing the excitement and joy of young children catching a big fish.

Arnie had three great loves in life, people, the outdoors and Montana. He approached everyone he met as a potential friend and he believed that there was something interesting to be found in all people. If he couldn’t draw them out in a conversation and find that “interesting bit” he would quickly conclude that they were in dire need of a good story of which he had many and he excelled at telling them.

As a young boy he would ride his bike to the base of the Mission Mountains where he would hike to and fish the alpine lakes. Sometimes he would be gone for several days hiking over the mountains into the Swan to fish its streams. This was the start of a life long passion for the outdoors. His life was divided into seasons; in the summer it was fly-fishing, in the fall hunting, the winter it was skiing and if the skiing wasn’t any good it was ice fishing. So it went for over 80 years.

Arnie came to fly-fishing early and there is not a river in Montana that he had not floated and fished. If there was a hatch on the Madison, Rock Creek, the Big Hole, the Clark’s Fork or any of the other great streams in Montana he knew of it and was there to “read the water” and find the trout. If the steelhead and salmon were running in the Snake or Salmon rivers he was there and if the fish weren’t biting there were always chukars to hunt in the breaks.

Winter brought skiing. As a young man, in the early 1950’s, Arnie and his brother Keith would put seal-skins on their skis and ski into the Mission Mountains to measure the snow pack for the valley irrigation system. When Big Mountain was developing he and Lucella were there.

Arnie loved to travel but cities were of little interest, for him conversation and interaction with the local people were what was fascinating. But what brought him the greatest joy was merely to “see the country”. He took great pleasure at just seeing and exploring the terrain and nature surrounding him. To this end he found no place more interesting or more varied than Montana. To all he met he would regale them with tales of beauty and glory of his beloved Montana. In all his travels no place rivaled Montana – except New Zealand, he thought that the rivers, mountains and fishing in New Zealand were ”pretty good and he might be able to live there” -- but he always came home to Montana.

Arnie had a full life. He reveled in being part of Ronan, the Mission Valley and Montana. He realized that a community is built by the actions and the cooperation of its members.  As a WWII veteran he was part of a generation that recognized and cherished their individualism, but the war and those troubled times taught him the strength and purpose that comes from belonging to a community and acting for the common good. Arnie will be sorely missed.

A visitation will be Wednesday, May 17, 2017 from 3:00-6:00 pm at Shrider-Thompson Funeral Home in Ronan. Funeral service & reception will be Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm at the Terrace Lake Community Church, on 35663 Terrace Lake Road, Ronan, MT.  Graveside services to follow at the Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Ronan VFW Post 5652, 35981 Round Butte Rd., Ronan, MT 59864.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

Shrider -Thompson Funeral & Cremation Services

419 Round Butte Rd, Ronan, MT 59864

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

Terrace Lake Community Church


Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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