Remembering A Life...
Celebrating A Homegoing
James Edward Armstead
October 25, 1940 – April 20, 2012
Rev. William Betts, Officiating
Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11:00 am
San Francisco Christian Center
5825 Mission Street
San Francisco, California
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
Revelation 14:13 KJV
Obituary of a Life Lived to the Fullest
James Edward Armstead, dear, daddy, grandpa, Mr. Armstead, Jim, Brother James, Uncle James, Deacon Armstead, the eldest child was born on October 25, 1940 in Texola, Oklahoma to Willie Bea Evans (Shaver) and Willie Jarely Armstead. During his formative years James lived with his mother, Evangelist Willie Bea, Grandpa Evans, several siblings and other close relatives in Texola. His mother was a very God fearing woman who believed in rigorous church attendance and would accept nothing less of her children; so he did at some point accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was a child. He also sang in the church choir and routinely attended other church activities.
At the age of 9, he moved to San Francisco, California to live with his father Willie Jarely, step-mother Alzada, and other siblings from their union. James did attend and graduate from Poly-Tech High School in San Francisco in 1958. At the age of 19 he worked for Children’s Hospital in the cafeteria when he met the love of his life, partner and friend Opal Marie (Safford) Armstead, who also worked in the cafeteria. They were married on February 4, 1961 and remained for 51 years. From their union were born three girls; Jean Naté, June and Marna.
James was an extraordinary man, who over the course of his life accomplished many things. He was ﬁrst, a son and child of the Most High (Our father) in heaven, loving husband, and father, father-in-law, doting grandfather, elder brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, God-father, disciplinarian, protector bible reader, tither, history enthusiast, teacher, true friend, conﬁdant, trustee, encourager, mentor, a man of his word, world traveler, leader, man of strong character, man of action, inﬂuencer, humorous, witty, problem solver, business associate, business client, professional salesman, a successful business man and owner until his heart attack in 2010.
James thrived on being an effective salesperson who simply loved going to visit his numerous clients on a regular basis to serve their needs. His clients genuinely adored and thought fondly of him. They will truly miss his smile and charming personality.
As with all good customer service when something doesn’t work anymore, you replace it. James replaced his failing body and made a peaceful transition to his gloriﬁed body on Friday afternoon, April 20, 2012 at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco, with his loving wife Opal by his side. He was 71 years old. Heaven must be beyond our wildest dreams because he decided to go back again, this time forever.
He leaves to esteem is legacy, his wife of 51 years Opal, daughters Jean Naté, June, Marna, son-in-law Stanley, two grandchildren Nicolas and Aleja. Two aunts Doretha Sheridan, Eula Mae Howell, and Uncle Bennie Evans. Many sisters and brothers, Albert (Roberta) Shaver, Clara (Timothy) Reid, Cynthia Patterson, Flora (Skip) Taylor, Rev. Jessie G. (Felicia) Shaver, Johnnie Smith, Kennard Shaver, Lee Ethel Ellison, Lewis Smith (deceased), Lonnie (Valerie) Smith (deceased), Robert Smith (deceased), Roy Armstead (deceased), Rev. Sammie (Nannette) Shaver, Saundra Elaine Young, Truedell (George) Griffin, Virginia Armstead, Warnell Armstead (deceased). Brother & Sister-in-laws; Wilson Williams Jr. (deceased), Donnell (Jennifer) Safford, Minister Enoch (Mary) Williams, Pamela (Pastor Jewell) Ruffin, Bruce Williams, Verla Williams, Carol (Minister Ray) Jackson, Barbara Williams, Linda Lee, Marilyn (David) Pearson, Carl Safford, Myrl (Commie) Gilbert, and Valeria (Ronnie) Knighton. He also leaves a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends.
A Letter to My Husband
When we first met, November 1959, I was thankful for your friendship, it seemed as though we had known each other all of our lives, for we shared many of the same thoughts and dreams.
Our backgrounds were very much alike. So you became my friend, defender, and confidant. Unknown to us, that this was a “set up” ordained by God. Even if we had gone on different paths we would have some how still been connected.
Over the years, you have been not only my husband for 51 years, but you have adequately loved and provided for me and our children and grandchildren, never causing us a moment of concern as to whether we would survive or not, and for this I am forever grateful.
You have always been a very responsible and persistent person and a relentless businessman, who sought after your goals and set a pace to achieve them.
Our lives have not been perfect, but out growing pains have been positive. Years ago when you first shared your aspirations with me I was uncertain, but as time passed I learned more and more how important obligations were to you personally and in your business affairs.
I have been very proud to be your wife and the mother and grandmother of your children. For you have blazed a trail which may not appear to have much light, but that small flicker has caused a lot of heat to warm many.
Your Wife, Who Will Always Love You,
Opal M. Armstead
Order of Service
The Family’s Parting View
San Francisco Christian Center
Old Testament Scripture: Psalm 23
New Testament Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
San Francisco Christian Center
Words From James Armstead’s Family
Jean Nate' and Aleja (speeches below)
Remarks from Ministers
Ministers In Charge
Sis Pamela Ruffin
Words of Encouragement
Rev. Roderick Gittens, Senior Pastor
The Armstead Family Would like to Thank
the Duggan/Welch Funeral Home
3434 - 17th Street in San Francisco
San Francisco Christian Center
5825 Mission Street in San Francisco
Interment at Olivet Cemetery Colma, CA
Repast Held at San Francisco Christian Center
Rev. Jessie G. Shaver
Rev. Sammie Shaver
Minister Enoch Williams
“Now we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you will not grieve as the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, thus also God will bring those who have fallen asleep through Jesus together with him.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain until the Lord’s coming, will not possibly precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up at the same time together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and thus we will be together with the Lord always.
Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 LEB
To All of Our Friends, Family & Loved Ones
We Cannot Thank You Enough for the
Words of Encouragement, Love & Support Given to us While Caring
for James & During Our Time of Bereavement
By Aleja (Granddaughter)
MY GRANDPA SPEECH
I love my grandfather dearly, I always will. When a loved one dies, they are never really dead. They are actually just in a new life. Like a wise woman told me, it is like moving to a new school or a new city and a new life will begin by meeting your father, your HEAVENLY father.
I remember that my grandfather was a very independent and strong-willed man, I admired that about him. If he wanted to do something, all he had to do was set his mind to it and he could do anything. In his ill-state doctors said, he would not be able to speak for a really long time, but he proved them wrong: he talked to a nurse with a trake in his throat. If that is not a miracle, I do not know what is.
My grandpa always had a soft spot for me. He would always find a way to make me happy. At the office, he would sneak me a candy: SEE’S Nuts and Chews. I know many of you have a family member like that; sneak you a candy when no one was looking. Well grandpa was like that for me.
I love my grandpa very much and I know you all love him too. I have many memories I would like to tell you about, but I do not have time. I wish you all the best. I wish my grandpa was here now, but sadly, he is not. The one thing I miss about him is his hugs. Someday I will hug him again, but this time, he will be able to hug me back.
By: Jean Nate Thomas (Eldest Daughter)
I was talking with my god-sister the other day about our family infrastructure and how we are so blessed to be raised with parents who were concerned about our success. My father and mother had a group of friends who were all married about the same time; now all should be reaching their 51st wedding anniversaries this year.
This special group in their late teens, early twenties became a village of kindred mindsets and how they would raise their children to be different from the rest. Today, this mindset unfortunately rarely exists in the African-American community. These husbands and wives, fathers and mothers set the pace for how their children would standout.
Today, I am proud to say that I am one of those children who experienced the benefits of their efforts.
My father was one of those individuals who made sure that the legacy he was trying to establish; did leave a lasting impression. My father exposed us girls to everything, good schools, money, and foods from various cultures, business, entrepreneurial task, character, integrity, discipline, the bible, and strong family ties.
He later realized that no matter what he did to be successful in life or business and to exemplify success to his family; the only true success is knowing and accepting Jesus Christ our your personal Lord and Savior. We knew how much he loved us because he was always teaching us something, discussing or debating scripture with us. The debates never lasted very long because he knew his daughters were strong believers too.
My father’s legacy was to go do what you have been gifted to do and do not forget to honor the Lord in it.
To: Marna (Youngest Daughter) - You understood daddy’s business venerability and you set out to correct the areas that were lacking. You have everything you need to maintain the business that daddy established because he sowed that seed in you. You know how to move the company in the right direction for this century. Your decisions are right, so do not second-guess yourself.
To: June (Middle Daughter) - You have daddy’s mindset for business and no-nonsense approach, I am proud of you and so was he. Move your salon to the next level; expand.
To: Nick (Grandson) - You are branded like me for responsibility and leadership. Do not be reluctant in your calling be the leader grandpa knew you would be. As you are almost finishing college, go out and be that strong and Godly leader your generation is looking for.
To: Aleja (Granddaughter) - There is no fear in the Armstead household. Grandpa was not afraid to do or try something. He made sure you were secure in who you are. You are braver and stronger than you realize. You just have to exercise that gift.
To: Stanley (Son-in-Law) - You and my father were in cahoots on some things so that promise you both made to each other; my dad is counting on you to hold your end up because he was a man of his work and a good judge of character.
To: Mommy (Wife) - I realize you not only lost your husband, but your best friend and confident. Just realize that you have other family members and friends who are here to support you. In addition, great is your reward for your faithfulness to daddy from the beginning to the end. God will honor you; He has not forgotten.
I guess I can say that I truly understood my father’s heart and love for us and to everyone that he touched because he did preach the good news of the kingdom.
I have a charge for all of the family, friends, business associates present here today; if my father has ever said anything to you that was impactful and helped you in some way; he meant it and if you have not taken his advice, consider it again; especially about accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.