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In Memoriam

Grace Mae "Diddie" Armistead
Grace Mae "Diddie" Armistead
Class of 1948



Grace Mae (Diddie) Armistead, 86, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia died the morning of August 29, 2017. Born in Richmond, Virginia, she was the daughter of the late Robert Benjamin Armistead, Sr. and Olivia Catherine Armistead.


Having been raised in the Cradock section of Norfolk County, Miss Armistead graduated from Cradock High School class of 1948. She then received a Secretarial Diploma from Madison College (James Madison University) in 1950 where she was a member of Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and was on the “Breeze” newspaper staff.


Her career in business administration was with the IBM Corporation in Norfolk, Virginia for 39 years, retiring as an Administrative Analyst. Following retirement from IBM, she was employed by Norfolk Public Schools in Adult Education where she was a Business Instructor and High School and GED Counselor for 10 years.


Miss Armistead was a life member of Cradock Baptist Church, having been baptized on March 3, 1941. She was deeply committed to her church and held many leadership positions including serving as Church Clerk for 26 years. She was ordained a deacon in 1998. She served as chairman of the Endowment Fund Committee of which she was responsible for its founding and served on the Floral, Bylaws and Personnel Committees and formerly served on many other committees. She served as chairman of the Music Committee for 10 years and was instrumental in obtaining a memorial baby-grand piano and new “Celebration” hymnals. She had served as an adult ladies class (Ruth), young adult ladies class and youth Sunday school class teacher, Baptist Training Union teacher and its Junior department director and the Nursery director.


She was a member of the International Order of Job’s Daughters, Bethels 5 and 11 of Portsmouth, and a charter member and Past Honored Queen of Bethel 11, Cradock. She was a charter member of the Portsmouth Scottish Rite Ladies.


Miss Armistead served on the board of directors of Portsmouth Community Concerts, Inc. for 25 years and is a past President. She then served as an Honorary Director. She was a member of Portsmouth Music Club and a past Scholarship chairman. She was a member of Sterling Point Garden Club and a past President for two terms and had been honored as a Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. “State Life Member” and National Garden Clubs, Inc. “National Life Member.” She was a member of the Portsmouth Area Council of Garden Clubs and a past Chaplain and the Tidewater District VFGC and a past Chaplain. She served as a Commissioner on the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission for seven years and in August 2012 she was presented the nineteenth “Gladstone M. Hill Friends of the Arts Award,” an annual award given by this Commission. She was a member of Portsmouth Museum’s Flower Guild and a member of the Friends of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Inc. She was a member of the Pilot Club of Portsmouth, Inc. and a past Chaplain. She was a charter member of Virginia Beta Xi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi sorority. She is a former member of the Portsmouth Forum (a study club).


Miss Armistead was preceded in death by her brother, Robert B. Armistead, Jr., her sister, Martha O. Armistead Owens, and brother-in-law, Joseph J. Owens, Jr.


Survivors are her sister, Marie Parr and her husband, Leslie Parr of Virginia Beach, VA. Nephews: James Owens III and wife, Mary “Tootie,” of Richmond, VA; Jeffrey Owens and wife, Deborah of Chesapeake, VA; and Thomas Armistead and wife, Heather, of German Town Hills, IL. Nieces: Katherine Rusnak and husband, Robert of Virginia Beach, VA; Ashley Henderson and husband, Jerald, of Raleigh, NC; and Lesley Parr of Raleigh, NC; six great nieces; four great nephews, and a great-great nephew.


A funeral service and visitation will be held at Cradock Baptist Church, Portsmouth, VA, on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The visitation will be at 10 a.m. and the funeral service at 11 a.m. with the Reverend David Phillips, Pastor, officiating. Interment will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, Chesapeake. Loving Funeral Home of Churchland is handling arrangements and online condolences may be made at


In her memory, it is suggested that memorial gifts be made to Cradock Baptist Church, 96 Afton Parkway, Portsmouth, VA 23702 or to a charity of choice.