By Kim Scanlan 

Oct. 17, 1932 – Jan. 20, 2024 

It is with a great deal of sadness that we announce the passing of Helen Armstrong (née Matson). Helen passed away after a brief illness in Dana Point, California on Jan. 20, 2024 at the age of 91.  

She was born in Cordova on Oct. 17, 1932, and was the youngest of four children born to Finnish immigrant parents Anders Gustav Matson and Elmina Matson (née Saisa). She excelled in school and despite being raised in a small remote Alaskan fishing village she won a full scholarship to Stanford University at age 16.  

She met her future husband, Glenn Armstrong, while she was a student and they were married in San Francisco. She and her husband raised a family of three children, Marc, Kim, and Katie, and lived at various times in La Verne, Claremont, Bishop, Riverside, and Running Springs, California. She spent most of her professional working life working for the University of California in administrative positions and then enjoyed her retirement days in the mountains, staying active with friends and family, traveling, and volunteering until moving to Dana Point in 2020 to a retirement community there.  

She was preceded in death by her husband Glenn, her parents, her brothers Leo and Reino, her sister Ruth, and her niece Becky. She is survived by her three children, and her grandchildren: Megan Scanlan, Ben Armstrong, Olivia Armstrong, and Myles Armstrong.  


Helen is missed immensely by those who knew and loved her, and she will always remain in the hearts of those who love her. She was a very strong woman in many ways, and faced any challenge presented to her with Finnish “Sisu” (i.e. strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity). A character trait that is carried on within her children. 

There is no memorial planned. The family asks that you celebrate her life and honor her in whatever way you find appropriate.