Joyce Armstrong, Home Economics and 4-H Agent Par Excellence

— Written By

Henderson County 4-H says goodbye to Joyce Armstrong, Home Economics and
4-H Agent from 1966-1996. Joyce passed away on August 20, 2020. She is remembered for her belief in the 4-H demonstration/presentation program and project records. She helped many young people achieve state and national recognition. Armstrong said, “Several former 4-H’ers have shared with me the fact that the leadership training they received in 4-H has enabled them to be successful through their education and now in their employment. I have also seen many of our adult leaders use their 4-H experiences to become community leaders. There is no downside to leadership development.”

Earl Smith, former 4-H and Agriculture Extension Agent, and Joyce Armstrong led Henderson County 4-H students to success in demonstrations and judging teams. The two worked to develop twenty-three 4-H community clubs. Armstrong and Smith spent hours preparing their members for competition, and it showed. Ginger Smith, wife of Earl Smith, says, “Joyce Armstrong and Earl Smith were a wonderful team. They complimented each other well. In presentations, other counties would quake in their boots when they saw Henderson County coming.”  Lois Bayne, former 4-H leader, says, “Joyce was an all-around person. She’d go out of her way to help with the kids. She had a lot of good ideas, making the demonstrations fun for the kids. She was very much for the kids.”  Volunteer Sue Ruff says that everyone remembers Joyce’s smile. Ruff adds, “Joyce was friendly, enthusiastic and bubbly.” Debra Dixon Doss, 4-H Honor Club member, reminisces, “Joyce taught each of us to be kind and to be a cheerleader and encourage others to be successful. I am grateful to have had her as my cheerleader.”

Armstrong also oversaw numerous Home Demonstration groups for women throughout the county, and hosted annual Holiday Crafts and Foods Programs. She taught many skills including food preservation, cooking, sewing, how to make Battenburg Lace, and tatting. “Joyce was an integral part of the Extension Homemakers,” Janet Gover, 4-H volunteer, remembers, “She would have the homemakers and 4-H members work together. We had huge fashion revues with both homemakers and 4-H participating. Come canning time, she was always busy instructing or checking pressure canners. Year after year, Joyce sat through many presentations and helped develop the public speaking talents of multiple youth. She was always available to assist with home economic questions including food preservation and clothing construction.”

Joy Kish, former Family Consumer Science Agent and Cooperative Extension Director, says, “Joyce Armstrong loved her work with Cooperative Extension. Her work went beyond a ‘job’ – she truly cared about people and their families. Joyce added so much to all the lives she touched through her work. It was also evident that she loved her family. She expressed her love for each of her family members. I will always remember her smile when she talked about her family.”

Visit Tribute Archive for Armstrong’s obituary.

The Armstrong Smith 4-H Endowment was established to recognize the impacts that Joyce Armstrong and Earl Smith had in Henderson County. Memorials may be made to the Armstrong and Smith Endowment for Henderson County 4-H or sent to Henderson County 4-H, 100 Jackson Park Rd., Hendersonville, NC 28792.

Joyce Armstrong installing Henderson County 4-H officers

Joyce Armstrong installing Henderson County 4-H officers.

1966 Henderson County 4-H Fashion Revue

1966 Henderson County 4-H Fashion Revue

Joyce Armstrong accompanying Dawn Dixon Martin and Debra Dixon Doss

Joyce Armstrong accompanying Dawn Dixon Martin and Debra Dixon Doss on a national 4-H trip

Joyce Armstrong and Earl Smith

Former Henderson County 4-H Agents Joyce Armstrong and Earl Smith

Joyce Armstrong and Debra Dixon Doss

Joyce Armstrong and Debra Dixon Doss, NC 4-H Electric Congress 1966

Joyce Armstrong helping Ruby Bloemsma sew a garment

Joyce Armstrong helped Ruby Bloemsma sew a garment in a 4-H sewing class in 2013. Joyce was a 4-H volunteer for many years after retirement.