Gregory L. Armstrong

March 10, 1954 - April, 01, 2017
Gregory L. Armstrong, March 10, 1954 - April, 01, 2017

Gregory Luke Armstrong, known by his friends as Greg, died unexpectedly on Saturday at his house on Oakview Highway in East Hampton. He had a massive heart attack and, even though he was resuscitated briefly in the ambulance on the way to Southampton Hospital, he did not recover. Mr. Armstrong was 63.

Mr. Armstrong was born on March 10, 1954, in Freeport, one of the two children of Harry Armstrong and the former Margaret Shea. He was brought up in East Marion and graduated from Elmont Memorial High School. After that he earned an undergraduate degree in fine arts at Southampton College, and eventually moved to East Hampton.

After he settled in East Hampton, Mr. Armstrong became a caretaker and estate manager, working for Lorne Michaels’s three properties in Amagansett for 20 years. He worked also for eight years at Hren’s Nursery in East Hampton for Charlene and Joseph Hren. His nursery work included several years at Spielberg Nursery and Garden Shop, also in East Hampton, and C. Whitmore Gardens in Amagansett, which last year became Charlie and Sons Landscapes, where he was working at the time of his death.

Jeff Huettner, Mr. Armstrong’s life partner of 32 years, who survives, said that he preferred digging and planting more than anything: “His thing was to dig in the dirt.”

He also was a freelance house watcher and gardener, working for clients in Amagansett, East Hampton, and Sag Harbor. When not outside in nature, surrounded by plants, Mr. Armstrong enjoyed painting garden scenes and animals in oil; he donated much of his artwork to the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which has been suggested for memorial donations, online at dorisdayanimalfoundation.org.

In addition to Mr. Huettner, Mr. Armstrong is survived by his sister, Patricia Collins of West Islip, three nieces, two great-nieces, and seven great-nephews. He considered his and Mr. Huettner’s golden retrievers, Fritz and Coco, to be his children, as well as his cat, Surf.

The family will receive visitors at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be a graveside burial service on Saturday morning at 11 at St. Andrew’s Cemetery in Sag Harbor; Father Peter Devaraj will say a memorial Mass. Mr. Huettner will welcome friends at his house in East Hampton after the service.