Yorktown economic, civic leader dies

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Sept. 3, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.

Yorktown is grieving the loss of one its loudest civic cheerleaders - a woman who put the town on the map.

Melissa Armstrong, 50, died Sunday of what is suspected to be a pulmonary embolism.

Armstrong, who wore three executive hats in Yorktown - executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, executive director of Economic Development, and executive director of the Yorktown Western Days Association - fell into a coma Aug. 26 and passed away a week later about noon Sunday, said her daughter, Alexandria Armstrong.

"It was very unexpected and it's been hard on all of us," said the 22-year-old Alexandria. "We're doing the best we can to get everything done the way she would have wanted it."

For Armstrong's two children - Alexandria and 18-year-old Tucker - the loss of their mother was doubly significant.

"We lost our father seven years ago ... it will be a rough transition, but we're confident in the skills she left with us," her daughter said. "She was a very strong woman, steadfast in her beliefs, and she always put everyone in front of herself."

Yorktown's mayor, Rene Hernandez, said it will be hard to replace Armstrong, who for more than a decade dedicated her life to bettering the community.

"It's a great loss for the city of Yorktown," said Hernandez, who has worked with Armstrong for 11 years. "I applaud her for all she did. Everything she has done is so greatly appreciated."

Perhaps Armstrong's greatest legacy will be her commitment to Yorktown's economic development growth, and Western Days and Ziegfest, which her daughter describes as the family's "third child."

"My brother and I always joke that Western Days was her third child. We just hope that it will continue to grow because she poured her whole heart and soul into it," she said.

Armstrong has been cremated, and a memorial service will be 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Triska Funeral Home in El Campo. All are welcome to attend. Armstrong's ashes will be spread over areas of Port Aransas, El Campo, and the Florida Keys.

"I was there with her when she passed and I was happy she moved on to a happier place," Alexandria said. "It will be difficult not having her here."



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