Calvin Campbell wrote I am sorry to tell you that Don Armstrong died yesterday, Feb 27th,2000
of complications of liver cancer.
Every once in a while you are lucky enough to come into contact with someone
who has a great deal of talent and the ability and willingness to pass this
knowledge onto others. Don Armstrong was one of those rare people. I was
lucky enough to have him as a mentor for many years.
Don was one of the original founders of CALLERLAB. He was also a steadfast
follower of the philosophy of Dorothy and Pappy Shaw. He successfully
promoted dancing all over the world. Now probably most of you never heard
of him or met him, but thousands upon thousands of dances have had the
pleasure of dancing his dances and moving to music that he found and
recorded. He lead dances right up to the end.
Don started out as a square dance caller and a musician. He produced some
square dance records and then became fascinated by contra dancing. He wrote
many many contra dances, researched many more. He guided the Lloyd Shaw
Foundation Recording Division for 30 years that I know of and the LSF is the
acknowledged top source today of contra music. Without the effort of Don,
very little would have been produced or preserved.
Many of us old timers owe our skills to Don. He took the time to talk to us
and to teach us the skills he possessed. Maybe we didn t learn them as well
as we should, but we all went away better teachers and better leaders. I
had the pleasure of working with him at many camps and universities and at
the end of every session I felt I had learned more than I had taught.
He was presented the Milestone award many years ago. Frankly, it would be
worth our time to revisit his life and accomplishments. We all could learn
Don was also a test pilot in his early years and flew many aircraft. He
wrote a book called I Flew Them First Its worth reading.
For most of us Don was either someone you loved or hated. Sometimes the two
alternated over the years. For me, I was lucky enough to count him as a
friend in the years before he died.
343 Turf Lane
Castle Rock, CO 80104