Some fires are slow burns, others burn hot — for but a brief moment in time.
Ever the visionary, Jeremy 'Jer' David Armstrong pondered deeply at the meaning of life, death, consciousness, the arts, spirituality and love. From the very beginning, Jer's energy introduced him to everyone he ever met even before he spoke. An intelligent, quick-witted, funny, engaging and warm-hearted soul, he influenced many with his personal philosophies and charm. His kindhearted nature endured him to the countless souls who called him "friend."
So, it is with profound sadness that we announce his passing on Friday, June 19, 2020, in Bismarck, N.D., surrounded by family and friends at the age of 35.
Jer was born on Aug. 14, 1984 in Colorado Springs, CO, to Craig and Monika (Wommer) Armstrong. On July 10, 2010 he married Whitney Clingingsmith and together raised their daughter, Eva Mia Armstrong. The couple were expecting their second daughter, Esme Ileah Armstrong, this coming October.
A talented visionary artist, lover of mother nature, avid reader and researcher, Jer was most at home in the expanding of his knowledge, in the beauty and consolation of nature and in the arts. Ever the technology enthusiast, he could be relied upon to aid anyone with their high-tech woes — and was obsessed with finding and hoarding all manner of cables tucked away for a rainy day.
A lover of music and spirituality, Jer found solace in music and festivals at his home away from home at Harmony Park in Minnesota. Jer was a jack of many trades, wise beyond his years and reveled in the opportunities to spend time with friends and family. Diversity of hobbies and interests ran the gamut of intellectual and physical activities, seeing him bounce from sacred geometry and philosophy to long boarding and landscape design.
Jeremy was a modern-day renaissance man.
A beloved son. Jeremy was equal parts his mother and father and brought each three decades of unrelenting joy, laughter and love. Having his father's sense of wonderment in the outdoors with his mother's green thumb, he was the son that any parent would be proud to have.
A loving husband. Whatever souls are made of, his wife and his were one. Together they were the example of a relationship that many aspire for, but few ever achieve. High school sweethearts, Jer and Whitney were the proverbial peas in a pod from the beginning and together ushered life into the world and into the hearts of all they encountered.
A proud father. Jer marveled with tear streaked eyes from laughter at the growing intellect and sense of humor in his beautiful daughter and had already begun planning father/daughter excursions with his unborn child Esme. A teacher, he left his wisdom in the mind of his child and did his best to give her a better start. Together they played video games and laughed. His final post on Facebook being a succinct ode to the world on how proud he was to be a father.
A caring brother. Jer officiated the marriage of his sister and brother-in-law and in his words left an indelible bond in a relationship aspiring for eternity. As children he would revel in the many games he and Sylvia would play; in their secret meetings on the church steps adjacent their home as they pondered the secrets of how saltine crackers were made. Ever the tenderness to her rambunctiousness, the laughter to her tears — the little brother and partner in shenanigans.
An irreplaceable friend. Jer leaves in his wake a world better than he found and with it a long list of thankful friends who were lucky enough to know him and love him. His brother from another mother, Ben Hegstad, and he would often roam the streets of their neighborhood block trying to find and destroy the evil Splinter who had turned them into meager children from their true form as Ninja Turtles. The Dickinson Street Department very well saved two children from venturing into the sewers with their timely sealing of a manhole near their childhood homes. His friend Caylla Hegstad loved Jer like he was her own child. Her motherlike protection keeping her friend on the right path and navigating between the buoys of life.
Beloved, loving, proud, caring and irreplaceable. He will be sorely missed.
Each soul has their own unique path in this life and the degree to which Jer's quickness of mind, originality and perceptiveness aided in his spiritual journey, it also provided him with the farsightedness to fully understand his own struggles.
Being on a spiritual path does not prevent one from facing times of darkness, and Jer fought many demons. A valiant fighter, he always prevailed with a better understanding of himself and grew stronger as a result. Jeremy understood well that in every experience, no matter how bad it may seem, there is always a blessing of some kind — and he sought for those blessings. In his darkest days he relied on his paternal grandmother, Myrtle Irene Olson Armstrong, for guidance and comfort. Grandma Myrt led Jeremy with a heart dedicated to service of others — herself a noted advocate for raising awareness of mental health issues in North Dakota.
Jer's mantra was, "Be here now" and it is a mantra he did not just echo — but lived.
He is survived by his father and mother Craig and Monika Armstrong; wife and soulmate Whitney Armstrong and daughters Eva and Esme; sister and brother-in-law Sylvia and James Miller (Anika and Parker); brother and sister Ben and Caylla Hegstad; mother-in-law Tammie Naccarato; brother-in-law Ian Clingingsmith (Ianna); brother and sister-in-law Trevor and Donna Bolme (Yesenia, Isabella and Trevin); brother-in-law Alexander Wehrung; and countless others.
A celebration of Jeremy's life will take place at a future date and time for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, cards are welcomed to be sent to 606 1st Ave. E., Dickinson, North Dakota. Those interested in attending the celebration of Jer's life are invited to contact Craig Armstrong, Whitney Armstrong or Sylvia Miller.