In Loving MemoryBobby Ann was born on March 7, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois to Laura Mae Leusman and Robert Mitchell Armour. Although Bobby Ann’s parents were divorced when she was young, and she was raised solely by her mother Laura, Bobby described her childhood as “relatively normal.” Bobby Ann was a shy child, who constantly sought refuge in books and was a lifelong avid reader. She was active in her local community growing up, and she recalled doing many activities with her mother such as volunteering to go door to door to inform women of where their local polling places were, and at the community theater. Most of all, she loved being a member of the very first Girl Scout troop in Elmwood Park, IL, (a troop which her mother helped to create and was the troop leader for). Bobby also attended Girl Scout camp in upstate New York every summer, from the time she was a young girl until she was old enough to be a camp counselor – her camp counselor name was “Pepper.”
Always musically inclined, Bobby Ann was a flute player in the marching band in high school. During her senior year of high school, Bobby had an accident where she slipped on ice and shattered her hip. The doctors advised that she may never walk again, a diagnosis that was simply not acceptable to Bobby. Her trademark stubbornness became an attribute, as Bobby was determined to walk at her high school graduation. Not only did she accomplish this goal, she graduated high school with honors. Bobby was the first woman in our family to attend college. She attended Milwaukee-Downer College in Milwaukee, WI and graduated with a degree in Childhood Education. She played many sports in college, with her favorites being archery and sailing.
With a growing courageous spirit that would endure throughout her lifetime, Bobby accepted a teaching job in California after graduation. She packed up the car and drove across the country with her friend Willie, stopping only to sleep on the side of the road (what was then known as Route 66). Shortly after settling, Bobby started attending a local church where she met a dashing young gentleman named Oscar after a Halloween party. They were instantly smitten with each other, and were married on December 18, 1949 at the El Toro Marine Base in Orange County, California. The couple went on to have two children together (Randy and Rhonda) before Oscar’s untimely passing in 1952.
Bobby Ann moved back to Illinois to live with her parents. About a year later, her mother Laura not so subtly kept dropping hints about her co-worker Walter’s son. Bobby Ann insisted that she was not ready to date again, but Laura eventually wore her down. So, she agreed to meet up with Walter’s son, Edwin Walter Henry Hermann (affectionately called “Ed”). Ed had recently been through a divorce and had sole custody of his infant daughter, Dawn, and was also being urged by his father Walter to meet Bobby. Bobby and Ed finally went on their first date, and the rest, as they say, is history. When asked about their proposal story, both would say they had no recollection of who proposed to whom – they just knew they were meant to be together from then on. They were married on April 24, 1955, and became a family. They went on to have two more daughters, Bonnie and Wendy.
Bobby Ann and Ed eventually fled the cold Illinois winters for sunny Anaheim, California. Bobby Ann was a devoted a leader for each of her children’s Scout troops. She was constantly leading camping trip expeditions, sewing costumes, coaching softball, and taking charge of the neighborhood! She ran several small businesses, with the most enduring business being selling Avon products, which she continued to do well into her ‘70’s. At one point in the1980’s, she embraced a life long passion of hers and opened a travel agency. She became a world traveler, adventuring to many remote places and all corners of the world. She eventually closed the agency, but continued to specialize in handicapped travel until she “retired” took her final adventure to Africa in 2005.
At the age of 55, Bobby took on the task of raising two of her grandchildren (Harley and Rachel) – this is something that she joked “kept her young.” The woman with boundless and enduring energy was their karate club booster president, dance mom, t-ball coach, PTA president, troop leader, and eventually, the manager of a community children’s theater that performed dozens of musicals every year. She travelled with them across the USA with national competition teams and events, all the while instilling in them the importance of education. And to top it off, as if she wasn’t doing enough already, Bobby travelled internationally extensively with them, giving them irreplaceable memories and experiences.
Bobby Ann was a striking woman with dark brown hair and sky-blue eyes. She was tall, a fact that she hated when she was younger but eventually grew to embrace. She was intelligent, witty, with a sometimes-tough exterior that housed a big, warm, loving heart. She was constantly “adopting” friends as family, insisting that she be called Aunt Bobby, Mom, or Nana. Her interests and talents were varied. She loved to crochet, needlepoint, travel, organize, and take charge of things. She was an avid supporter of the performing arts and a musical lover. She travelled to see shows all over the world, including original productions on London’s West End, Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours, and local community theater performances. She loved Disneyland, was an annual passholder for decades, and even worked for them as a “secret shopper” until the early 2000’s. She enjoyed making photo albums and watching the Angels play baseball. She lived for the Christmas season, in which she went out of her way to make special for everyone she encountered. Perhaps most of all, she relished life as a grandmother. She lovingly doted on her grandchildren!
Bobby Ann had a very long, full life, and she greatly impacted everyone she encountered. We will forever be grateful for the incredible and inspiring legacy that she created for us. Through her, we will remember to be kind, tenacious, and resilient. We will honor her and remember her in our daily lives, especially when we travel (as we know her spirit will always be right beside us, adventuring along with us!) and during Christmas where we will continue with the traditions that she created, and embody the spirit of the season that she loved so dearly. Her life came full circle when she departed this earth on December 25, 2017. She will be our special Christmas Angel for all eternity.
Bobby Ann is survived by her daughters Rhonda, Dawn, Bonnie and Wendy, sons-in-law Richard and Dave, grandsons Jason, Harley, and Mike, granddaughters Rachel, Christina, Angela, Ashley, Tory, Lindsey, and Brooke. She is preceded in death by her husband Ed, and her son Randy. A private gathering will be held by her family. Rest in peace, Mom/Nana. We'll love and miss you every single day for the rest of our lives.