Life Story: Gardening and helping others were her passions

  • By Katya Yefimova Herald Writer
  • Sunday, April 3, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

EVERETT — Ruby Rose Armstrong’s flower beds were a source of pride and joy.

She grew up gardening at her parents’ farm in Oso, where the garden was so beautiful people driving by would slow down just to look.

She nurtured her Snohomish farm the same way, said her daughter, Judy Misich

-Goozee of Camano Island.

“She single-handedly built it into this lovely place where she hosted weddings for her coworkers,” she said.

Armstrong, 81, passed away March 22 after a long illness. She spent the last two years of her life at an assisted living center in Everett.

She was an accomplished Master Gardener who shared her art with others. Misich-Goozee remembers a rose variety in the family’s Snohomish garden with the same name as hers — Judy Lynn. As a child, she thought the flower was named after her.

Armstrong was an active member of Garden City Grange in Snohomish.

“She had every kind of flower there ever was,” said Bob Stribling, master of the grange. “She liked to play in the dirt.”

Friends from the grange described her as a loving and likeable person.

She had an infectious laugh, said Margaret Huff of Monroe, who had known Armstrong for 50 years.

“You’d hear it and you’d want to laugh with her,” she said. “It was just a good giggle.”

Armstrong was passionate about helping people, especially seniors, said Trish Misich Quintana, her youngest daughter. She worked for Catholic Community Services and retired as a supervisor of the Independent Living Program. She loved her job – going to older people’s homes and helping them stay independent as long as they could.

She was well-known at the Snohomish Senior Center, where she led the exercise program and played pinochle.

After having seven children, she studied political science at Western Washington University. Misich Quintana, of Everett, was in preschool when Armstrong enrolled in school in order to get back into the workforce.

It took commitment, and her friends admired that.

“You’ve got to hand it to somebody who can do that,” Huff said.

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, kyefimova@heraldnet.com

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