ROCK HILL, S.C. (News Release) – Winthrop University Associate Professor of Education Abbigail Armstrong ’95, ’02, unexpectedly passed away Tuesday, May 2.
“Memories of her joyful spirit, infectious smile and abounding energy will remain with us always,” said Beth Costner, dean of the Richard W. Riley College of Education. “We are going to have to lean on one another through this most difficult time as all of our hearts are mourning.”
Bryn Eddy ’22 recalled taking an online course with Armstrong during the pandemic.
“She held optional Zoom calls consistently throughout the semester, and most students would attend because of how nice and goofy Dr. Armstrong was,” Eddy said. “She always made a point to ask how our mental health was faring during the pandemic. She always told us to get outside and enjoy the environment.”
Eddy has kept a screenshot of one of those Zoom calls and lovingly calls it “Abbigail in the wild.”
Jordan Brown ’18, another former student of Armstrong’s, called her “amazing.”
“She treated her middle-level cohorts like family,” he said. “From day one, she prepared us to be successful in the classroom. Even after I began teaching, she checked in on us. I’ll always remember her giving time in class to talk about our field placements and our students.”
Stacy Martin and David Vawter, fellow faculty in the middle-level education program, shared that her family and faith were the most important aspects of her life. Professionally she put her students first. “She cared deeply for her students and in turn they cared deeply for her,” the colleagues said. She will be remembered for her willingness to help faculty, staff and students however she could.
A first-generation college student from Chesterfield, South Carolina, Armstrong frequently followed this advice from her parents: “No matter your circumstances, you can succeed if that is what you want to do.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in middle-level education from Winthrop, where she also proudly pledged the Xi Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She also earned a Ph.D. from Gardner-Webb University in 2010.
Having discovered a love of working with middle-school students, she taught seventh and eighth grade math for 10 years in several S.C. districts. She authored two books, “Rigor in the 6-12 Math and Science Classroom” and “Rigor in the K-5 Math and Science Classroom.”
Armstrong joined the Winthrop community in 2005. According to her faculty profile, she loved to read, sing, dance and admire nature’s beauty.
She leaves behind her husband, Jerome, and two children, Asheland and Justin.
The last sentence of her faculty profile featured her favorite quote, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Memorial and service details will be forthcoming.