Veteran Nevada journalist and public servant Armstrong dies
June 10, 2007
CARSON CITY (AP) — Bryn Armstrong, a witty, award-winning Nevada journalist who had a long newspapering career followed by a second career as a state government executive, died Saturday. He was 91.
Armstrong, who had been in failing health, died at the Evergreen care center in Carson City. A memorial service is planned at a later date.
Armstrong, who was raised in Nevada and attended the University of Nevada, Reno, served in the Army during World War II and started his professional journalism career as a reporter at the Woodland, Calif., Daily Democrat.
He joined the Reno Evening Gazette in 1948, serving as assistant managing editor before moving to the Las Vegas Sun in 1963, where he became executive editor before retiring in 1977.
“I did everything,” Armstrong said of his first newspaper job when interviewed in 2006 by Reno Gazette-Journal columnist and longtime friend Sue Morrow. He said he wasn’t sure what his starting pay was, adding, “I think it was $35 a week. I’m not sure. I wasn’t in it for the money.”
Armstrong had a sharp memory but never wrote about his years in Las Vegas and mobsters he knew. “I don’t think I want to get killed, so I ain’t telling you stories about mobsters,” he told Morrow. “I’m saving that for when the last one dies.”
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Armstrong was a former president of the Nevada Press Association and a winner of several association awards, including one in 1960 for an 11-part series on a black market baby ring. The series led to child protection legislation dubbed the Armstrong Law.
Other awards included best local column in 1959, best news and best feature stories in 1961 and best editorial in 1964. In 2004, he was inducted into the NPA’s Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Armstrong was appointed by then-Gov. Mike O’Callaghan as chairman of the first full-time state Parole Board in 1977, and reappointed to that post by Govs. Robert List, Richard Bryan and Bob Miller. He also served as executive secretary of the Nevada Dairy Commission from 1993 to 1996, retiring after suffering a stroke at the age of 80.
Armstrong’s wife, Leola Armstrong, who was secretary of the state Senate for 24 years and also was director of Common Cause in Nevada, died in 2004. He is survived by daughters Mindy and Amanda Armstrong and son Jeffrey Armstrong.
Born in 1916 in Syracuse, Kan., Armstrong moved with his family to Nevada in 1928, settling first in Ely and then moving to Virginia City, Tonopah and eventually Las Vegas.