Six-foot Joseph Armstrong was a powerful, robust man, with a heavy beard and a hearty handshake. According to eyewitnesses, he had the look of John Brown, with the dignified manner of Lord Chesterfield."Joseph Armstrong" by W. D. McCrackan, Church History Department of The Mother Church, and Newburyport (Mass.) News, March 14, 1907.
One reporter's first impression of the man in 1905 captures another likeness: "Here is Saint Peter, I do believe, . . . greatly humble and humbly great." With only a few words to the reporter, Mr. Armstrong departed, leaving the sense that a breath of fresh air had been felt in the room.Sibyl Wilbur reminiscences, p. 8, Church History Department.
Some twenty years before, Joseph Armstrong had exuded the atmosphere of finance and commerce. While still in his thirties, he was president of his own bank in Irving, Kansas. But no amount of business success in banking, real estate, or the lumber trade could buy back his wife's lost health by medical means.