Date of Death:  October 22, 2021

Service Details

Visitation will be held at:

Hohner Funeral Home
(269) 279-5282
1004 Arnold Street
Three Rivers, MI 49093

Wednesday, November 17 – 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 18 – 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

A church service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 19.

Amidst global travel restrictions and domestic COVID concerns, the service may be viewed virtually at

First Presbyterian Church
320 N. Main Street
Three Rivers, MI 49093

Obituary Notice

Merrill H. “Gus” Armstrong
(January 6, 1935 – October 22, 2021)

Merrill H. “Gus” Armstrong, of Port St. Lucie, FL, died October 22, 2021 surrounded by his loving family at his northern Michigan home.

Gus lost a battle to cancer, but won so many endearing friendships throughout the world, with his warm, caring spirit.

Gus attended Western Michigan University and later graduated from Alma College with his bachelors in business administration. He pitched on both college baseball teams. On a weekend return home to Three Rivers, MI, he met the love of his life, Barbara Grover, who became his wife in 1956. Barbara was beautiful, engaging and full of life.

Gus & Barbara raised three children and traveled the world making friends everywhere they went. Christmas was always a special time for Barb & Gus – teaching their children the importance of faith and sharing their blessings with family and friends.

After losing Barbara to cancer, Gus met Sharon Smith of Leawood, Kansas and had a second chance at love, marrying Sharon in 2001. Sharon and Gus enjoyed retirement together in Florida, Michigan, Alaska and Hawaii.

Family remained a priority for Gus – always assuring there were special moments to be together. He encouraged his family to prioritize sharing quality time with one another. His simple request of his grandsons was to enjoy life, and to love and respect one another.

Gus hosted annual fishing trips with friends and family at Rainy Lake in Minnesota and Yes Bay in Alaska. All day fishing concluded with enjoying the day’s catch and hearty, competitive card games late into the night.

Gus joined Armstrong Machine Works of Three Rivers, MI in 1956 – the industrial steam equipment company his grandfather founded in 1900. Not content with the company’s stellar reputation as a Midwest manufacturer, Gus became President and led its path to national and international prominence. He brought Armstrong to Europe in 1969, building a manufacturing facility for industrial humidification in Liege, Belgium.

Gus renamed the company Armstrong International, Inc. to reflect its global presence and supported 4th generation family members in their broader entrance to Asia in the early nineties, where today the company has operations in China, India, Korea and a joint venture in Japan.

His goal – “not to be the biggest, but to be the best” remains a hallmark of the company’s culture which includes treating employees and company representatives like family. Generations of families around the world work for the company, now in its 5th generation of family leadership. A global network of independent sales representatives shares a unique bond with the company – one of Gus’ proudest accomplishments.

Gus approached life with a trusting spirit, always seeing the good in others and encouraging his family to approach others with empathy. If he discovered someone in need, he would quietly help, keeping tabs on their progress, and delighting when their circumstance improved. Loyalty was a quality he admired and practiced. His bold enthusiasm helped those around him achieve their fullest potential – he was a natural and gifted leader.

Gus is survived by wife Sharon, daughter Tamara Bloss (Doug), son Patrick (Nicole) and daughter in law Yvonne Armstrong. Eight grandsons – Chad, Kurt (Mandy) Armstrong – Ryan (Jamie), Matthew (Melissa), Troy (Katie) Bloss – Brian, Brandon and Cole Armstrong. Six great-grandchildren Kora, Trent, Grayson, Evie, Beckett and Mckenzie. Sisters Mary Overholt and Barbara Kravchenko.

Gus was predeceased by his wife Barbara, son David and his parents, Lawrence and Donis Armstrong.

Additional Information

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to:

The Armstrong Foundation
Attention: Joanne Carrara
1002 SE Monterey Commons Blvd.
Stuart, FL 34996


First Presbyterian Church Three Rivers/Centreville
320 N. Main St.
Three Rivers, MI 49093


Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Please Leave Your Condolences

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  1. I worked for Armstrong International’s Corporate office in Stuart, FL for over 16 years. As Executive Assistant for both David and Doug, I also worked very closely with Barbara and Gus, and after Barbara’s passing, with Gus as his Assistant. Family was very important to him and he loved the fishing trips to Alaska and Minnesota with his children and grandchildren. He was a wonderful person to work for and a very kind, caring and compassionate person.

    My condolences and prayers to the Armstrong Family and organization.

  2. My deepest condolences to the family of Gus Armstrong. I had the pleasure of working with Gus for 38 years. I have very fond memories of Gus and what a great man he was. My thoughts are with the entire family during this very difficult time.

  3. Thank you great grand uncle Gus for playing card games and riddles with me when I was a little girl and going out to dinner. You taught me how to spell Euchre when I was six and I will always remember that. I really wanted to meet you as an adult; I’m tall like you now! Thank you to all family who took care of you (Gus) near the end. Love as always.
    Condolences to all my distance families groeving, Condolences to my grandmother Mary and my cousin Tasha. I afore you all.

  4. I speak for myself and so many others that have worked for Armstrong or are still working at Armstrong.
    You truly have a life long family once your here. Gus always so kind to stop and say hello and ask how things were going for you. Armstrong has been part of my life since I was a child as my Father worked here for many years before he passed away at a young age. I was very happy to have been hired at 19 yrs of age. I am sure I may not have had the opportunity had the Armstrong family not remembered my Dad and his years of service here at Armstrong. Prayers for the family now and all the days ahead. May all the fond & wonderful memories will sustain you.

  5. Deeply fond memories of years of friendship through business with Gus and Barbara.

    An absolute gentleman. What a blessing to have shared small adventures with them. Even if or especially if it were just Haagen Daas ice cream Swiss almond.

    A beautiful close family.
    Appreciate at this place in my life to have these beautiful memories.


  6. I’ve heard a lot of good stories about Gus from old employees. even I never met Gus, but I still could know a kind, warmhearted, wise and approachable person who is remembered by everone.
    I hope the God bless you and your family!
    Fox Zhao

  7. More than 20years, I worked at armstrong
    My deepest condolences to the family and friends that knew him. He was a great leader
    I can’t express how saddened I am for you.

    with deepest sympathy

  8. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Armstrong family in the passing of Gus. He was a very kind man who really cared about the employees at Armstrong and the community of Three Rivers. I worked at Armstrong for 46-1/2 years and he always made it a point to walk through the facility when he was in town and talk to the employees and ask how things were going for them. Armstrong was, and still is a great place to work, much of this is in part to Gus. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time for them.

  9. I have been a friend of the family for years especially with his daughter Tammy. He always talked about us girls taking trips together and being such good friends. He never missed talking to me when he was making a visit to the company. I was honored to know Gus he was a special and caring person. He will live on in my memories forever.

  10. Having known Gus Armstrong for over 45 years as a friend, mentor and professional colleague I can honestly say that through the best of times and the worst of times his strength of character and unselfish perspective never wavered. His word was his bond and in the interest of fairness, he would always pursue the right path, not necessarily the easy one. Gus’ warmth and practice of expecting the very best in people always made us grow to reach the high standards he expected. However, he always contributed more than his share to help meet those expectations. Gus always dealt with challenge as “we,” not you alone, because he always brought his keen intellect, endearing personality, and optimistic attitude into finding a solution. His cherished family and those across the world that follow him are all beneficiaries of his immense presence. While Gus’ passing is a huge personal loss, his visionary legacy is far greater and will live on for generations to come.

    May God’s healing Grace be with his family and the great team at Armstrong International at this time.

    Jay, Lyn, Joey, and Jessie D’Amico

  11. I was a 20 year employee at Armstrong and rember well how impressed I was with how Gus’s leadership was different from anything I had experienced. Totally committed to the employees and their families, even personally handing out paychecks and speaking with all of us. He was, to me, very quiet and unassuming and yet managed a worldwide organization. I remember sitting next to him at a luncheon (a time spent with different employees o get their input and ideas) and him saying that they caught and ate Dolphin. I was shocked and I think I reacted to the comment until he explained that it was a different kind of Dolphin! I think he will be remembered by all as a kind and good man. My sincere condolences and prayers for all the family.

  12. I was blessed to make Gus’s aquaintence when he joined our faith based Friday morning coffe group in northern Michigan where we fix all the issues of the world. It was clear to me immediately that he was a man of great faith, skill, and determination. These skills endowed Gus with a quiet strength that was very engaging. As he lived the life he espoused people were drawn to him both in business and pleasure as his Alaska adventures attest.

    Gus led a fully realized life and I am a better person for knowing him.

    God bless the family and Gus.

  13. I had the privilege of working for Gus for many years as his Executive Assistant prior to moving out of state in 1987. He was a kind, compassionate and caring person which was shown through his actions everyday. To know him was to love him for the person he was.

    My deepest condolences to the Armstrong Family.

    Barbara Daniel

  14. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend a few evenings in the warm company of both Gus and Barbara as a young man. I vividly remember there true passion, empathy and genuine care for my families professional success but just as importantly, or perhaps more so, our families well being. Gus has meant a great deal to the Paulin’s. I am personally most impressed with his commitment to ensuring all 8 grand-sons were brought up with love and respect for one another ensuring the legacy of the family and business lives on; A truly exceptional vision and accomplishment cementing this Giant’s legacy will live on forever and will never be forgotten north of the border.

  15. Gus I don’t know you, but from the text I understand your life deeds, you are happy and joyful. Although cancer brings you pain, but you are accompanied by relatives and friends. So your life is very exciting. Because I don’t believe in God, I wish you continued happiness in another world.

  16. From the time Gus Armstrong hired me at Armstrong Machine Works in 1979 I have always admired him for his leadership, integrity, intelligence, and relatability as well as the family-oriented environment he projected. He will be fondly remembered. My condolences to all the family.

  17. As a kid Mr Armstrong as was a coach, & mentor, someone who you looked up to try to emulate. He gave me my start in my career as a summer work at Armstrong’s, and as an intern Engineer. I don’t think I would be where I am today, if Mr Armstrong had not played a part in my life. I will always be grateful to Mr Armstrong and the Armstrong Family. He had a very quiet, yet powerful demeanor. One of the greatest people to come through TR and the state of Michigan. My prayers are with the Armstrong Family. God Bless

  18. Gus was one of my brother’s best friends at Three Rivers High School. He always spoke highly of his friendship with Gus. My brother was Ramon Lasco. Prayers of comfort for Gus’s family. God bless all of you.

    Penny Lasco VanderTol

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