We Remember Those We Have Lost – October 7, 2016

Kevin Michael Armstrong

SNOW HILL — Kevin Michael Armstrong (Mike) passed from this life to the next on Sunday, Sept.25, 2016 at 3:10 a.m. with his loving wife Diane, son James and daughter Katie by his side.

obits-picHe was originally diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2005. The cancer returned in his lungs in 2014. Mike viewed his relationship to cancer as a tai chi practice saying recently, “When the cancer is a rock, I become water; when the cancer is water, I become a rock.” He chose every day to live with his disease, not die from it.

Mike was not actually born with a guitar in hand, although some might find that hard to believe. Mike was born on March 29, 1955, in Arlington, Va., to his mother, Sharon McDermott Armstrong, and father, Ernest H. Armstrong, Jr. He was joined by his brother, Tim, and his sisters, Mary and Teri.

Mike learned to play guitar at the age 12 from his Uncle Mike McDermott. While Mike was a music student at the University of Maryland, one of his professors advised him that if he really wanted to learn the music business, he needed to get out and play music; calling it “Bar U”.

In the late 1970’s, Mike joined a popular Washington, D.C. country western band, Whitewater, his band mates are still his band of brothers to this day. At the Lone Star Café in New York City, the band was joined by none other than Willie Nelson, who sat in with them. It was there that Willie told Mike that if he wanted a family, don’t go on the road.

In Ocean City, at the OC Corral, where Whitewater was playing in 1981, Mike met the cute little bartender Diane Hale, sparks flew, and they fell in love. The wedding was in February of 1984. Son James came along in 1985 and Daughter Katie in 1988. If there was just one thing that Mike loved more than music, it was his family. They were a never-ending source of pride and happiness to his life.

In 1991, Mike, Diane, James and Katie moved to Ocean Pines and relocated their company, Coastal Closets. A big reason for the move was so that Mike could play music and not have to travel. Mike continued playing music in local bands with his last being The Mood Swingers, along with his brother, Tim Armstrong, on bass, the late Mark “Bubba” Phippen on drums, and their star, Lauren Glick on vocals and keyboard. After Tim moved to Texas and Bubba passed, Ted Gelinas and Mike Bevan brought their musical talents into The Mood Swinger fold. Mike and Lauren also performed as a duo. Mike truly valued his musical collaboration with Lauren’s magnificent gift of musicianship.

But, Mike was not through. In 2013, Mike went back to school to earn a degree in Computer Sciences at WorWic Community College in Salisbury, going on to become an IT employee in the Atlantic General Hospital System. All this and music too.

Mike was preceded in death by his father, Ernie Armstrong, and is survived by his mother, Sharon Armstrong-Saffran, and stepfather Glenn; his wife, Diane; son, James; daughter, Katie; brother, Tim and wife Angie; sister, Mary K. and husband John Veasey; sister, Teri and husband Kevin Sokoloff; his nieces and nephews; the Hale family; and the Saffran family.

The peace and love that Mike shared with others flowed as smoothly as the music from his guitar. He knew that life was too short not to try to bring a little happiness to those around him and to make every day a little bit brighter. “Help the helpers” was his mantra.

Words cannot express how much Mike will be missed by all of us who loved him.

A memorial will be held on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. at The Old Firehouse located at 210 W Green Street in Snow Hill, Md., followed by a Celebration of Life at the Harvest Moon Tavern next door.

Mike’s earthly remains have been donated to the Anatomy Gifts Registry to further medical research and education.

Condolences may be sent to the family c/o The Serenity Shoppe 214 N Washington St, Snow Hill, Md. 21863.