She also served on the ROCK of Africa Mission Advisory Board for the past six years
By V. Glen Megill, Founder/President of ROCK of Africa Mission, Special to ASSIST News Service
COSTA MESA, CA (ANS – March 5, 2017) — Ruth Freed Armstrong entered Heaven on Sunday morning, February 19, 2017, at 93 years of age. Ruth was a brilliant woman of charm and grace, with several college degrees, including a Master’s Degree in Education from Columbia University. Her counsel and encouragement to ROCK of Africa Mission will be greatly missed.
She was also the wife of the late Dr. Ben Armstrong, the first President of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) from 1966 to 1990. Together they played a primary role in the growth of National Religious Broadcasters into the preeminent organization promoting and defending the use of broadcast communications to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Attended by thousands of Christian communicators from around the world, and called Proclaim 17, NRB just held its annual Christian media convention (February 27-March 2, 2017), in Orlando, Florida, which also celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Among those there this year was ASSIST News Service (ANS) Founder, Dan Wooding; his younger son, Peter, who came over from the UK and was working with his father to film some of his interviews, and also to help launch the Global News Alliance (www.gna.news) along with GNA co-founder, Stan Jeter, and CBN President and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Little. Also in attendance for ANS was Bill Bray, the ANS Special Campus Correspondent for the global news service (www.assistnews.net).
Born June 4, 1923, Ruth was the daughter of Ralph and Mildred Freed, missionaries to Palestine and the Middle East. Her family initially made their home in the desert of Syria six miles south of Damascus in 1926, and later in Dara’a, about 25 miles Southeast of the Sea of Galilee.
While Ruth spent her youth in several locations in the Holy Land, she spent her important teenage years in her beloved Jerusalem in the 1930’s, before the State of Israel was born. Ruth thrilled to see Israel again become a nation in 1948, and she maintained a deep love of Israel throughout her life. Ruth spoke fluent Arabic and French.
Ruth attended Wheaton College with Billy Graham and his future wife Ruth Bell, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1945 she began teaching Public Speaking in the Missionary Institute at Nyack College in Nyack, NY, where she met Benjamin [Ben] Leighton Armstrong.
Ben and Ruth became fast friends and spent countless evenings in conversation and laughter. While at Nyack, Ruth sang in the choir which performed at Carnegie Hall. Ben attended one of her choral performances and immediately following this concert he asked Ruth for her hand in marriage, right there on the sidewalk outside Carnegie Hall on 57th Street in New York City.
Ben became an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and in 1946 they became husband and wife, pastoring churches in New York and New Jersey. They became parents in 1951 with the birth of their son Robert, and the arrival of daughters Bonnie and Debbie a few years later made their family complete.
In 1952, Ruth’s older brother, Paul Freed, founded Trans World Radio and during the early 1960s, Ben and Ruth served with TWR in Monte Carlo, Monaco, as TWR began broadcasting the Gospel using a transmitter housed in a building ordered built by Adolf Hitler during World War II to broadcast Nazi propaganda.
Christian broadcasting was still in relative infancy in 1966 when a small group of Christian broadcasters asked Ben to lead National Religious Broadcasters, and they established the first small NRB office with one part-time secretary in their home in Madison, New Jersey.
National Religious Broadcasters annual conventions were held in Washington, DC, and they quickly became the premier annual gathering of Christian leaders and communicators. Ruth’s organization and hospitality skills were a primary part of the early success of important receptions and convention events. Presidents, Members of Congress, and even world leaders soon became frequent visitors to NRB Convention Events. The growth of Christian Broadcasting during this season was exponential.
Ruth was an accomplished and widely recognized educator with a specialty in Speech Therapy. She attributed her remarkable success, not to specialized teaching techniques, but to simply making learning fun. Anyone who got to know Ruth well will smile remembering this fact. An important part of her life’s success was making important and necessary work fun.
In her later years, Ruth’s mind remained sharp and she stayed active into her nineties. She continued to serve on the Advisory Board of ROCK of Africa Mission until her death in February 2017.
Ruth Armstrong’s wisdom, beauty, warm personality, and gracious charm will certainly be missed, but she leaves a lasting impact on many.
Thank you, Ruth Freed Armstrong, for your service to ROCK of Africa Mission and to many others. You demonstrated a life well lived.
Photo captions: 1) Ben and Ruth Armstrong, a Christmas photo. 2) The Freed Family traveling in Arabia in 1928; left to right, Ruth, Ralph, Mildred and Paul Freed. 3) Paul Freed at 17-years-old, Ruth 12-years-old, and their father, Ralph Freed on Mount Nebo in 1935, with Paul pointing to the Promised Land. This is where Moses died after finally seeing into the Promised Land. 4) Ben and Ruth in their wedding photo. 5) Ben and Ruth with Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Israel President Shimon Peres. 6) Ruth and Ben greet President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan at an NRB Convention. 7) V. Glen Megill.
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