William
William "Bill" L. Armstrong

March 16, 1937 - July 5, 2016
Resided in Cherry Hills Village, CO
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Obituary

The man who devoted his life's work to faith, family, and freedom, William L. ("Bill") Armstrong passed away on July 5th, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. He was 79 years old.

Bill passed away after a five year fight with cancer, and more importantly, after a life well-lived. In heaven, he has been reunited with his mother, Dorothy Armstrong, who passed away in 2003, and his father, William ("Bill") Armstrong Sr., who passed away in 1985.

Bill married Ellen M. Eaton of Chadron, Nebraska on July 15, 1962. Today is their 54th anniversary. Their daughter, Anne, was born in 1963, and their son, Wil, in 1967.

As D.L. Moody once said, "Soon you will read in the paper that I am dead. Don't believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before." That echoes the sentiment Bill held. While in hospice, Bill said he hoped his last moments would be thinking of his dear friends, his family, and his Lord Jesus. His family is thankful that his cancer is now gone, that his body has been completely healed, and that he is with his precious Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Bill was born in Fremont, NE on March 16th, 1937. A bright and precocious child, his parents had their hands full with him from an early age. His first foray into politics happened at an early age when he appeared before the Fremont City Council in support of a measure to treat animals more humanely at the local dog pound. His love for animals continued throughout his life.

His fascination for new technologies started at an early age when he fell in love with radio broadcasting – the newest technology of its time. While broadcasting was never far from young Bill's mind, at the age of nine at a family dinner one night, Bill's father told him he had a great opportunity for him. Of course, Bill thought it was a radio job; instead it turned out his father had secured a job for him working as a local gas station attendant.

At eleven years old though, his first dream came true when his folks helped (or perhaps allowed) Bill to apply for a job with a radio station in Fremont, NE. He met with the manager who hired Bill to both work after school at the station, and to work on weekends as a radio disc jockey.

Bill graduated from NE Lincoln High School in 1954, and shortly thereafter, caught the eye of one of his early work heroes, Todd Storz, the father of the Top 40 radio format. Bill then went to work at KOWH in Omaha. Six weeks later, he was transferred to WTIX in New Orleans where he briefly attended Tulane University.

In January 1956, Bill worked at WDGY in Minneapolis, MN. He went into the Army for boot camp while there and then immediately moved to the National Guard in January 1957. He returned to WDGY six months later, and in mid-November of 1957 at the age of 20, he was appointed Program Director. While in Minnesota, Bill took classes at the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Storz commented about Bill at the time: "Smooth, mystery-tuner, birthday acknowledger, actor, impersonator, writer, newscaster, public speaker, producer, ex-radio A.E." It was during this period that Bill perfected his booming "radio voice" for which he was well-known.

Hankering for a radio station of his own, Bill began to search the country for a station he could buy. At the tender age of 22 in 1959, Bill bought KOSI-AM radio station in Aurora, Colorado, on a shoe string. Years later he reckoned that he completed the first ever leveraged buyout having purchased the station with almost nothing down. In partnership with his parents, he owned the station for 25 years.

Bill became the President of Armstrong Broadcasting Company and later Ambassador Media Corporation. He started KOSI-FM in conjunction with the AM station, owned and operated the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper, and three ABC television stations in Idaho and Wyoming.

While still early in his business career, he was approached about running for the Colorado State Legislature. He did so and become the youngest member of the State House. Eventually, Bill became the Majority Leader of the State Senate.

In 1973, Bill ran for the U.S. Congress in a newly apportioned district that included Arapahoe County and El Paso County. He won the election with over 62% of the vote.

As a freshman Congressman in 1973 after having what seemed like it all – a wonderful family, children, success in business, success in politics – Bill self-described himself as despondent. That was his frame of mind when a fellow called on him in the Canon Office Building and asked him a simple question, "Bill, where do you stand with Jesus Christ?"

For reasons he didn't understand at the time, Bill had dinner later that night with this dentist from Alabama – a Campus Crusade for Christ missionary he didn't know – in the Joseph Martin Dining Room which is a little chamber under the House of Representatives. It was at that dinner that Bill first heard the Four Spiritual Laws and prayed to become a Christian in the biblical sense; that is, a person in whom Jesus lives.

That decision changed Bill's life forever. He came to understand that no one can find the answers to what is really important in life through military strategy, economics, politics, science, or any other theory. Instead, Bill came to understand that if he was going to change the world, he must first help to change men's hearts, and that only Jesus can change men's hearts.

With Jesus now at the center of his life, Bill pursued his vocation with great vigor. He participated in the first congressional press conference with his long-time friend in the US House of Representatives, Jack Kemp, that offered up the notion that lower taxes would spur the economy. This tax cutting wave – led by Mr. Kemp – later became the basis for Reaganomics.

In 1978, Bill ran for the U.S. Senate against an incumbent and won a dramatic victory with 58.7% of the vote. During his reelection campaign in 1984, which he won with over 64% of the vote, he became the last Republican to win Boulder and Denver counties in the same election.

Important in the midst of implementing Reaganomics was his amendment to legislation that indexed marginal tax rates to inflation. While he supported much of the Reagan agenda, Bill led a conservative opposition to the forthcoming budget, arguing that the administration was not doing enough to cut long-term federal deficits. He consistently voted against increasing the federal debt ceiling and was a sponsor of the balanced budget amendment.

Bill was the only senator at the time to serve on all three finance committees – Banking, Budget, and Finance – while he also served as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. Bill also fought to save social security and proposed raising the retirement age of recipients, something that was not adopted.

In late 1982, Bill worked with other legislators to pass a resolution that President Reagan signed authorizing 1983 as the Year of the Bible. The law recited that the Bible "has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people" and that, quoting President Jackson, the Bible is "the rock on which our Republic rests". It also acknowledged a "national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures."

Bill and his wife, Ellen, had a heart for persecuted Christians and Jews all over the world, the unborn, and the poor, and used their influence in the public square to improve the plight of the least, the lost, and the littlest of these.

At the age of 53, Bill left the Senate and returned home to Colorado with the intention to praise the Lord, have some fun, and make some money. In October of 1990, he purchased a small mortgage firm, Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, which grew quickly as a mortgage banking firm and was twice recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in America according to Inc. Magazine.

In addition to Cherry Creek Mortgage, Bill worked in several different businesses with his son, Wil. At one point, Bill owned four other mortgage banking firms, a real estate brokerage company, a title company, and an appraisal company. He was involved as a director and investor in several commercial banks and was also the founder and chairman of Blueberry Systems.

Bill was a director of several public companies including Storage Technology Corporation, UNUM Provident Insurance, Helmerich & Payne, the Family Channel, and the Denver based Oppenheimer Funds. He was also very proud of his work with the national boards of Campus Crusade for Christ, the Christian Businessman's Committee (CBMC), and the Free Congress Foundation. He was a founding director and the long-time president of the Armstrong Family Foundation.

Having never graduated from college, it was the last thing on Bill's mind when he was approached to become the president of Colorado Christian University. Bill served as president of CCU from 2006 to 2016. He called his work at the university, "the most significant, energizing, and rewarding work I have ever undertaken." During his tenure, the school prospered with enrollment more than doubling and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni ranking CCU in the top two percent of colleges nationally for its core curriculum for the last four years in a row.

It was early in his new job at CCU that Bill began to use the power of Jesus' name in public remarks by encouraging the CCU students to call out loud the Name above all names – "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."

He is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Ellen; his two children, Anne Armstrong Nordby and Wil Armstrong; his daughter-in-law, Kristy Armstrong; six grandsons with five granddaughters-in-law; two granddaughters; his sister, Danny Shanahan; numerous nieces and nephews; and two cousins.

Colorado Christian University will be live streaming Bill's service. Those who cannot attend are encouraged to join the service at http://livestream.com/CHCCTheChapel/BillArmstrongMemorial.

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Services

Visitation
Cherry Hills Community Church
3900 Grace Blvd.
Highlands Ranch , CO US 80126
Thursday, July 14, 2016
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Service
Cherry Hills Community Church
3900 E Grace Blvd
Highlands Ranch, CO USA 80126
Friday, July 15, 2016
10:30 AM
Cemetery
Private