Francis Lawrence Armstrong

Francis Lawrence Armstrong
Liverpool, England, UK
Death date
Fields of study


Francis Lawrence Armstrong was born on January 18, 1925 in Liverpool, England, and was the only son of Lawrence Sheppard Armstrong and his wife Fenia Schwartz Armstrong, an emigre from Russia. The couple met during WWI, and in 1919 were married in France, traveling soon thereafter to Rochester, New York.

As a boy Francis went to boarding schools in Europe, and later attended private and military schools in the U.S. as his parents traveled in the course of their employment. He enrolled in the NROTC program at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana for his Navy officer's training, and graduated the youngest in his class. His billets included assignments in Norfolk, Virginia and Panama, Central America and exercises on the USS Cone, a destroyer, which he often discussed expressing his love for the sea. He quickly raised into the ranks of Naval intelligence, and during this period he married Helen Theresa Flowers after a short court-ship. However, he abandoned a Navy career for a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, New York and finished the four-year program in three, graduating in 1957. From that point onward he worked as an electronics engineer specializing in communications design until cancer ended his career.

He applied engineering skills to a broad spectrum of commercial and military uses including voice and data communications, radar, avionics, electronic mail and facsimiles, medical electronics and television systems. His reputation won him contracts with Sikorsky Aircraft, Bendix Corp., Republic, Sperry Electronic Systems, Hamilton Standards, Westinghouse Defense and Electronic Systems, Pitney Bowes, Satellite Transmission Systems, Hamilton Test Systems, Burroughs Corp., Timex R & D, Philips Audio Video Systems, Singer-Telesignal, Norden Labs, ITT, its subsidiaries and affilitates, and many others. A desire to be free of corporate constraints drove several attempts to establish his own business, leading him to file some successful patents for his own designs, involving fiber optics among other ideas, and caused him to labor long and well into the night at his home in Pleasantville, New York.

His contributions to U.S. security through the communications systems include the F-105, F-111, F-114, F-16 and B1B fighter planes, Navy fleet helicopters and ships, Army Divad Tank radars, Marine Corps Unit digital field telephone system, NASA satellite communications, Intel and DAMA satellite systems, and software and hardware for Motorola 68000, DEC 11/34, DEC 11/70, BASIC, ATLAS time domain reflectometry, digital signal state analysis, IF/RF and analog/digital circuit design, and test equipment design.

Armstrong died on April 6th, 1991 of lymphoma.