Harry Armstrong , Clovis Councilmember of 46 years, passes away at 87

Harry Armstrong was an instrumental force in Clovis, serving nearly 50 years on the City Council. (City of Clovis)

William “Harry” Armstrong, former Clovis Councilmember of 46 years, passed away Jan. 18 at the age of 87.

Prior to his retirement from the Clovis City Council on Oct. 17, 2016, Armstrong was California’s longest serving elected official.

“It is with great sadness, the City of Clovis announces the death of our longtime retired Councilmember William ‘Harry’ Armstrong,” said Clovis Mayor Pro Tem Drew Bessinger. “Harry’s service to our citizens and our community goes back five decades. The landscape of our community today has Harry’s steady handprints all over it. Freeways, community facilities, our modern infrastructure and improvements are part of Harry’s legacy. Clovis is a much better place because of him.”

Councilmember Armstrong served on the Board of the California League of Cities for more than 27 years, most notably as League President from 1982-1983, and the League’s Transportation, Communication and Public Works Policy Committee. His passion for transportation and water earned him positions of Chairman of the Fresno County Transportation Authority for 22 years, Chairman of the Fresno County Water Advisory Board for 13 years, and Chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies for 21 years. He was also instrumental in a number of major infrastructure projects, including getting Freeways 180 East and 168 built.

Armstrong received numerous awards during his lifetime, including the Rose Ann Vuich Ethical Leadership Award, League of California Cities’ Award for Service and Contributions to the Board of Directors, 2015 Fresno Council of Governments Regional Forum – Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence, Leadership & Commitment; he was inducted into the Clovis Hall of Fame in 2010, and was named the Grand Marshal of the Clovis Rodeo Association in 2015. In honor of his legacy, the upcoming City of Clovis transit system hub will be named the William “Harry” Armstrong Transit Center.

“Harry Armstrong has been a guiding force in Clovis for 50 years,” former Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig said in 2016 at the time of Armstrong’s retirement. “Not one person has had more of a positive impact on Clovis than Harry Armstrong. Clovis is today, and has been, the safest city in the Central Valley. It is a city of choice for young families. It is a community that is recognized nationally for excellence.

“Harry Armstrong has been a major part of making Clovis what it is for over 50 years, including serving on the Planning Commission. He has seen the community grow from a small farm town to a community with vast business, educational and recreational opportunities. Harry Armstrong has dedicated most of his life to bringing excellence to Clovis. This is a debt that can never be repaid.”