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Kathleen Armstrong.
Kathleen Armstrong.
Image: Press Association Images

Tributes paid to 'quiet but powerful' widow of one of Northern Ireland's Disappeared

Kathleen Armstrong died earlier today aged 90.
Dec 6th 2019, 9:42 PM 17,819 4

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to Kathleen Armstrong, the wife of a Disappeared victim in Northern Ireland, who died peacefully aged 90 earlier today. 

Kathleen passed away in Co Armagh and her funeral will take place on Sunday. 

Kathleen’s husband Charlie Armstrong disappeared on his way to mass in Crossmaglen in Co Armagh in August 1981. His remains were not located until July 2010 when they were found in a bog in Co Monaghan. 

He was one of the 16 people murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles in the north. 

Kathleen was described as a “quiet but powerful campaigner for the Disappeared” after her death by Northern Ireland actor James Nesbitt.

“It was her warmth, kindness and a deep spiritual presence that stayed with you forever after,” said Nesbitt in a statement. 

“Despite the almost unimaginable pain and grief of not only losing Charlie but for the best part of 30 years not knowing where he lay, she never let it get in the way of the compassion she felt and showed to others especially those who suffered the same pain and grief.”

CEO of the WAVE Trauma Centre, an organisation offering support to anyone affected by the Troubles, Sandra Peake said Kathleen was a “woman of grace with a heart of gold”.

“She was a woman of  great faith and serenity. She never gave up hoping and praying that Charlie would be brought home,” said Peake. 

“She never accused anyone or expressed bitterness. She was the absolute embodiment of fortitude and dignity in the face of an enduring tragedy.

And there was a no more warm and welcoming place than Kathleen’s home and everyone who crossed the door felt so much better for having been in her company.

Lead investigator of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, the organisation that located Charlie’s remains in 2010, Geoff Knupfer said news of Kathleen’s death was “very sad”. 

“Kathleen was a lovely woman and so gracious in all her dealings with the ICLVR,” he said.

“Everyone involved was so glad that we were able to return Charlie’s remains for the Christian burial that had been denied for so long.

“We all knew what it meant to Kathleen to be able to lay Charlie to rest.”

With reporting by Press Association. 

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Orla Dwyer

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