"There are no
ordinary people..."
C. S. Lewis

Dennis Douglas Armstrong

Sunday, October 3, 1954
Friday, October 6, 2017
Corona, California
Service Information: 
An open house will be held at the Rome Grange, 2821 Mt Baker Hwy, Bellingham WA on Sunday, October 22nd  2pm - 4pm.  

After a two year battle with cancer Dennis went home to be with our Lord. Dennis was born to Ed and Vera Armstrong and raised on their farm on North Whidbey Island. He settled in Bellingham, WA where he worked at and later co-owned Circle F Machine Works. He passed away in the comfort of his home with his family at his side. Dennis will be cremated and his ashes spread at his childhood home in Oak Harbor during a private ceremony per his wishes. 

Guestbook Entries

Submitted by Dave Kroontje on

A Really "Nice Guy"

I am so sad to hear of Dennis’ death.  I really liked him.  I can’t overstate my admiration for his skill as a machinist/engineer and, particularly, his uncompromising preference for doing things “the right way” the first time.  Often men are referred to casually as being “nice guys” but, in Dennis’ case, it was a truly deserved and noteworthy moniker.

The Whatcom community of “makers” (people who can really do things) is now missing a talented and engaging member.  Dennis machined his first part for me in 1983.  I still have it and it’s still as functional as the day I picked it up!  He was a really capable fellow and I’m glad to have known and learned from him.

Each time I’ve passed Circle-F coming or going over the last several months, I’ve looked to see if the shop door might be open or if Dennis might be rambling about so I could stop and visit without intruding.  Our last visit was when he was in the shop preparing his big mill for pickup by its buyer.  I should have stopped-in after.

I’m really sorry that Dennis didn’t live to see my little helicopter fly, which it should do next spring.  I think he would have gotten a kick out of seeing the little contraption actually airborne!  Dennis was very helpful to me with my project and gave generously of his time in advising and even machining some small parts (beautifully done too, of course).  I think he found my helicopter the sort of project that was engaging to his interests and terrific skills.  I’ll certainly miss his counsel and our satisfying conversations about equipment, tooling, guns, building cool stuff, politics, business, etc., etc..  I’m afraid that my occasional stops at the shop discouraged economic progress but, he seemed to enjoy our chats.  I certainly did.

On a visit not long after his diagnosis, Dennis and I were chatting in front of the big mill when a gal stopped in to see him - she apparently having just heard of his illness.  I still don’t know who she is but it was clear that she is a relative or close friend as she was a bit emotional.  She gave Dennis a big hug.  Then, thinking that she was intruding on some business discussion she turned to me and apologized.  Seeing an opportunity to inject a bit of levity into the situation I said, “That’s no problem; I’m just standing in line waiting for my hug.”  “Ah, what the heck,” she said, and proceeded to give me a hug too.  It made Dennis laugh, and me too!  Dennis was admirably stoic about his situation and, on the occasion of any of my post-diagnosis visits, he never exhibited anything but his characteristic good humor.  I do wish I’d come to know Dennis on a more personal basis much earlier in our association than I did.  He was the kind of fellow that anyone would be proud to call a friend.

Submitted by John Wasilewski on

Dennis and I met while in high school at Oak Harbor in the early 1970's, motorcycles were what brought us together.

We shared many races and trail rides together over several decades, and, we were able make time for trips including elk hunting in Idaho, duck hunting along the Nooksak river, making home brew beer (a failed venture), fishing in Squalicum Lake, sailing in his Hobi Cat, white water rafting and just hanging out together drinking Rainier beer while talking about life and reloading shotgun shells.

Dennis was ever the precision machinist, about the only time I was ever frustrated with him was while helping him build his first house and the subfloor was 1/8" out of square, which for stick framing is more than acceptable but not for Dennis, it had to be perfect and so we had to spend time making adjustments to suit his tolerances!


I'm guilty of assuming that as the years move along our friends will always be with us, since Dennis has passed I realize that this isn't the case at all, I'll miss Dennis's friendship and his quick smile.

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