Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News
VARS — Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario is considering a drive-by tractor procession to honour one of its own, Glen Armstrong who was killed in the line of duty May 16.
A life-long farmer who said he expected to pass in his 70th year like his father before him, Glen Armstrong, 70, died after a front-end loader he was operating in building a pond on the family farm near Vars flipped. It’s not that the loader came down on him, sister Sharen Armstrong explained, but that he hit his head on a rock.
The loving big sister was on site while paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive her brother. Ottawa Police investigated and the coroner has declared the event a tragic accident. No arrangements have been made at this time but they’ll be private, Sharen said, her brother having been clear that he didn’t want a funeral service.
Glen was a member of the Vintage Iron agricultural collectors club of which Sharen is secretary, and the Ottawa Plowmen’s Association of which Sharen is president. Pre COVID-19, Glen was a regular with his sister at the activities of both clubs.
“We did so much together,” Sharen said of her “best buddy”. “The Saturday before the accident we drove around to five farms together. We went out for two hours and didn’t get back for five hours.”
Sharen was pleased that she spent a fine day of visiting before the accident with Glen and that, on Sunday before he began working on the pond, he went to the Ottawa Tulip Festival. The pond Glen was excavating was mainly ornamental, Sharen said: “He thought he might put fish in it eventually.”
The Vintage Iron executive is looking at a drive-by event which the family has approved. If it goes ahead, the urn containing Glen’s ashes would be placed on the seat of his vintage, restored Case 1030; tractor processions for Ontario farmers who die on the job have been gaining traction in recent years.
A graduate of the Kemptville College agricultural program (1971),affable, soft-spoken Glen leaves behind wife Victoria, children Matthew, Craig and Lindsay, and seven grandchildren. Sons Matthew and Craig and their families live in separate houses on the farm where Glen and Victoria also have a home.
Predeceased by parents Leslie and Ruth, Glen and Sharen also lost brother Ronald and sister Roslyn; there are three other siblings Neil, Lori and John.
The Armstrongs’ agricultural roots in the Vars area of Ottawa date back to the mid-1800s. A former dairy farmer, Glen was down to cropping 100 owned acres and another 50 rented; for several years he also worked in maintenance at Ottawa International Airport.