Bob Armstrong: Bigger than Life
Trustees for Alaska Board of Directors Loses Iconic Texan
Everyone at Trustees for Alaska was saddened to learn about the passing of Bob Armstrong earlier this month. He served on the Board of Directors for eight years.
Bob was a well-loved public figure in Texas and by all who knew him. He was a southern gentleman and never had a harsh word to say to or about anyone. Among Bob’s many credentials, a few highlights include: Bob was a Texas Legislator for eight years and served as Texas Land Commissioner for twelve years. In 1985, he was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, where he served for 17 years. As part of the Commission he was instrumental in establishing Big Bend Ranch State Park, which doubled the state park acreage in Texas. The park’s new visitor center that opened last year was named in his honor. Bob also served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.
He was an avid fly-fisherman and traveled to Bristol Bay many times. Bob loved being on the Trustees’ Board and was especially interested in stopping the Pebble Project. He was very happy with the work Trustees for Alaska was doing to protect Bristol Bay and that the Environmental Protection Agency began taking steps to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to restrict large-scale mining.
Bob’s widow Linda Aaker said that they had a huge funeral for Bob and there were lots of stories. The Republican Governor of Texas had flags flown at half-staff when Bob was ill, and they were flown at half-staff statewide when Bob passed.
“Bob was an exuberant, thoughtful, optimistic, generous, savvy, and funny guy, a larger-than-life, quintessentially Texan populist,” remembered Steve Cotton, Chair of Trustees’ Board of Directors. “He cared about people, and he cared about the environment. He relished his membership on the Trustees’ Board. Even as his health declined, and his doctors and his wife worried about his solo traveling, he insisted on attending our board meetings in person. When that became impossible, he dialed in and stayed on the phone with us for hours until that, too, became just too taxing.”
“He was a great man, colleague, and friend. His death is a huge loss for all of us.”
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