Islamorada, FL — William Edwin “Eddie” Armstrong, Jr., age 78, passed away on January 17, 2023, at his home in Islamorada, FL. Visitation will be held at Allen-Beyer Funeral Home in Key Largo on January 26, 2023, at 4 pm. Celebration of life service will follow immediately.
Eddie was born to William Edwin Armstrong, Sr and Octavia Nordan Armstrong on August 11, 1944, and was preceded in death by his father and mother. He is survived by his sister Delois Owen, Brandon, MS, brother Danny Armstrong (Priscilla), Jackson, MS, and “the best wife he’s ever had,” Ksenia Leonteva.
The family would like to say special thanks to Chapters Hospice team and his aides, Mimose Joseph, Carla Williams, Dalissa Petion and Francesca Jaques for their loving care.
In lieu of flowers, please, consider a donation to Burton Memorial United Methodist Church, Tavernier, FL. William Edwin Armstrong Jr., popularly known as “Eddie,” was deeply in love with the water and the beautiful Florida Keys.
Eddie was born in Jackson, Mississippi where he grew to be a true Southern gentleman. Upon graduation from Hinds Junior College and Mississippi State University with BS in Engineering, Eddie worked as a Furnace Design and Operations Engineer with Knox Glass Inc. in Knox, PA for two years before joining the Marine Corp.
In June of 1969, Eddie accepted an appointment to OCS with the Marines. After successfully finishing his training in the Artillery program at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, he spent four months with the Navy’s 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and another 16 months at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was there that he developed a deep connection to the water and learned to scuba dive as a sport. This became a pivotal point that would determine the course of his life.
A year after his discharge in 1972, Eddie loaded his car with all of his worldly possessions and traveled to the Florida Keys to open a scuba diving business. He first landed in Marathon where he and his business partner at the time opened a dive shop in Key Colony Beach. Two years later, an opportunity presented itself for Eddie to buy an established scuba diving shop at the Holiday Isle resort in Islamorada.
Holiday Isle was the place where island life was booming at the time and where Eddie enjoyed many years of success and growth. Eddie was one of the people actively involved in the creation of the Eagle wreck near Lower Matecumbe Key.
In 1985, the Eagle ship was brought from the Miami River and sunk intentionally to create an artificial reef and a popular diving spot. Eddie loved Islamorada and he loved his house in the jungle of the Pirates Lair. He never wanted to live anywhere else. After selling his business in 1999, Eddie decided to devote his time to a higher cause. He joined Habitat for Humanity and would travel to many remote places around the world such as, Hungary, Bulgaria, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan, building homes for those in need.
His kindness and generosity touched many lives. A man of strong character and discipline, Eddie excelled in anything that he chose to do – be that snow skiing, water skiing, mountain climbing, hang gliding, flying a private plane, dancing and winning in a Pro-Amateur & Amateur- Amateur ballroom dance contests in the cabaret category, nationally and internationally. He also helped design and install portable ice-skating rinks for the Yontz Corporation across the States and internationally.
An adventurer at heart, Eddie had a zest for exploration and lifelong learning. But what stood out most about him was his generosity and readiness to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. One could always find Eddie working on a “project,” building sets and stages for kids’ dance performances, +fixing a leaky roof for a widow, working on a fence for a neighbor, or driving miles to his hometown in Jackson, MS to fix up a mailbox for his sister.
Eddie religiously visited his hometown in Mississippi, taking his turn in caring for his ill mother. He always made a point to visit his home church and all the old folks with whom he shared so many wonderful memories and a lot of great meals.
To an honorable man, a caring son and a brother, a dedicated friend, and a loving husband, may you rejoice wherever the journey takes you. Until we meet again…