June 17, 2020
NEWBURGH, N.Y -
Dear Members of the Mount Saint Mary College family,
It is with profound sadness that I must inform you of the passing of Mount Saint Mary College Board member Robert Armistead. Bob, as we all knew him, has been bravely battling an aggressive form of cancer for the past year. Through it all, he had held out hope with a constant cheerful and optimistic outlook during his treatments. But over the last several weeks it became apparent that the disease was overtaking him, and he and his family chose a palliative care alternative for his final weeks. He passed away Tuesday, June 16.
His loss has impacted me greatly. I met Bob when he was nominated to join our board back in late 2014. I was immediately impressed by his honesty, integrity, and gentle manner. He was an extremely successful businessman who committed considerable time and efforts to supporting his church, his community, and higher education. His dedication to the Mount was only equaled by his dedication to his alma mater, another Catholic institution known as Villanova. Their victory several years back at the NCAA Basketball finals brought him much joy, and one of my fondest memories of Bob is proudly wearing his Villanova tie at our board meeting immediately following the “March Madness” win.
Besides serving as chair of our Finance Committee and serving on the Investment Committee, he also served on a number of our search committees, our Ad-Hoc Faculty/Board Member Committee as well as other MSMC fundraising efforts. A more dedicated board member would and will be hard to find. Besides serving on our Board, Bob also served on numerous other boards here in Orange County and beyond. For many years, he served as Chair of the Orange County IDA, providing deep guidance and advice for the economic development of the County. Nationally he served on organizations focused on his industry, as well as boards focused on preserving and growing the retirement funds of union workers.
He was a man of humility, absolute dedication to his family, and deep generosity with both his talent and treasures. In the six short years that I knew him, I do not believe I ever heard the word “no” pass his lips whenever help of any kind was asked of him. And although I only knew him for six years, he felt to me to be a friend for life. He offered me wise counsel and a practical thought process, always with a genteel manner, constantly looking to support and add value to the board. His frequent phone calls to me asking what else he could do were a constant gift to me. I will miss him ever so much.
I humbly ask every member of the MSMC family to please pray for his wife Susan, and all of their children, grandchildren, and extended family, as well as all of the employees of his company, Armistead Mechanical. I am sure this loss weighs very heavily on their hearts. The world is a much lonelier place today with his passing. May he enjoy the eternal rest he most deservedly earned.
With a very saddened heart,
Charles P Frank,
Chair, Mount Saint Mary Board of Trustees