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Tributes to ‘one in a generation’ former Portadown College principal

Harry Armstrong

The funeral of the former principal of Portadown College described as “one in a generation” will take place on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Henry ‘Harry’ Armstrong, who was in his 94th year, and from Margretta Park, Portadown, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 1 at Craigavon Area Hospital following a short illness.

Harry was the beloved husband of Doreen for 67 years, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Portadown College, where Harry served as principal between 1973 and 1993, led the tributes.

“The Governors and Staff of Portadown College are deeply saddened at the passing of our most esteemed former Principal, Mr Harry Armstrong,” a College spokesperson wrote. “The thoughts and prayers of the College Community are with the Armstrong family at this sorrowful time. Fortiter et Humaniter.”

Tributes flooded in for an educator held in such high regard by the countless students and colleges he encountered over the years.

One wrote: “Mr Armstrong was a tremendous headmaster and earned great respect from generations of pupils. As others have said, he knew everyone by name and took as much interest in the ‘average’ pupil as those who excelled and his influence was a major reason I became a teacher. We were blessed to have had him in PC and he was one in a generation.”

Another commented: “Terribly sad to hear this news. A really great educator, encourager, gentleman and friend to many.

Knew everyone by name (and who their mum/dad was too). We can only imagine how many lives he has shaped down through the years in PC.”

One former pupil posted: “Mr Armstrong was an excellent Principal and even in ‘retirement’ he dedicated much of his time and vast knowledge to various schools in the Dickson Plan. Will always remember on one of our first days at PC, he was able to chat to us and even name us.”

Harry’s funeral service will take place on Sunday at 2.30pm in Seagoe Parish Church followed by a private committal.
Family Flowers only please, donations for the benefit of Cancer Focus NI and Alzheimer’s Society via or cheques made payable to Milne Funeral Services donations account c/o 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown BT63 5HS.

Lovingly remembered by his wife Doreen, sons Neale, Alan and Keith, daughters Judith, Lynne and Claire and the entire family circle.

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