John Berchman Armstrong, formerly of rural Canton, Minn., died Friday evening, Aug. 5, 2016, at the age of 96. Most will remember him as "Berkie." Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Lindstrom Funeral Home in Cresco. Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Agnes (Plymouth Rock) Catholic Church, near Cresco.
Berchman was the youngest of eight children and was born on Nov. 29, 1919, to Joseph and Alice (Kelly) Armstrong. On May 22, 1944, he married Alice Irene Koch and together raised six children on the farm where he was raised. Berchman farmed and drove bus for the North Winneshiek Community School District until he sold the farm and moved to Atkins in 1975. He spent two years as a bus driver for Benton Community School District then joined Cherry Burrell and worked as a maintenance and custodial manager and supported his local union until his retirement in 1985.
Berchman enjoyed fishing, college sports and reading and discussing current events. In retirement, he enjoyed spending time with family, having coffee with friends and kicking up his heels on the dance floor. Anyone who knew him knew these things about him: He said the Catholic rosary every day, was well read and well informed, loved poetry and country music, was a life-long Democrat, had a passion for dancing, possessed a colorful vocabulary and loved to tell a good story or two at the dinner table. As he was quick to tell anyone, he was full blooded Irish and was full of the blarney!
Berchman was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Alice; his wife, Alice; his brothers, Burt, Pat, Ray and Loren; and his sisters, Loma Snyder, Ruth Kapler and Sadie Porter.
He is survived by his children, Cheryl (Gary) Gunderson of Canton, Minn., Kelly (Loren) Carolan of Newhall, Oscar (Diane) Armstrong of Harmony, Minn., Peggy (Gregg) Gustafson of Waukee, Colleen Armstrong of West Des Moines and Walter (LuAnn) Armstrong of Ames; 15 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; his sisters-in-law, Judy Styve, Delores Koch and Norma (Jerome) Einck; and many, many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
He lived a full, rich life, was greatly loved and will be dearly missed.
Memorials may be made to Therapy Solutions, 3315 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
Posted on Tuesday, 9 August 2016