Today July 31, 1892 Herbert Wright Armstrong was born in Des Moines, Iowa to Eva (Wright) and Horace Elon Armstrong. Herbert W. Armstrong had 2 brothers: Russell Maxwell & Dwight Leslie. And 2 sisters: Mabel (died at age 9) & Mary Lucile. The Armstrong family were Quakers, attending services and Sunday school at First Friends Church in Des Moines. Herbert attended North High School in Des Moines.
From 1904 to 1908 Armstrong held various weekend and Summer jobs; newspaper routes, running errands for a grocery store and a dry-goods story; a draftsman for a furnace company and other odd jobs. In 1910 Herbert, at age 18, on advice from an uncle, took a job in the want-ad department for the "Des Moines Daily Capital" newspaper. In 1912 Armstrong began as an advertising agent and wrote copy for "The Merchants Trade Journal."
In 1915 Herbert began his own advertising business in Chicago. In January 1917 Herbert took a trip back home and met Loma Dillon, a school teacher and distant cousin from nearby Motor, Iowa. On July 31, 1917 Herbert W. Armstrong married, 25 year old Loma Isabelle Dillon (a Methodist), on Herbert's 25th birthday. The newlyweds would live in Chicago. On May 9, 1918 Herbert & Loma welcomed their first daughter Beverly Lucile Armstrong in Des Moines, Iowa.
On July 7, 1920 Herbert & Loma welcomed their second daughter Dorothy Jane "Dottie" Armstrong. In Fall 1920 Armstrong's business was wiped out in what he called a "flash depression." By July 1922 Herbert's income had dropped too low to even support his family. The Armstrong's moved back to Iowa to live temporarily on his father-in-law's farm.
In Summer 1924 Armstrong and family drove to Salem, Oregon to visit Herbert's parents. They had moved several years earlier. Along the way, a Vancouver, Washington newspaper hired Armstrong temporarily to be a merchandising specialist for a six month period. Afterward Herbert W. Armstrong moved his family to Portland, Oregon, where he discovered a profitable niche market for his services.
In 1925 Armstrong began a successful advertising management service for the leading laundries in Oregon & Washington. In six months Herbert's business doubled. Then everything came to an abrupt halt. "Laundry Owners National Association" began a $5 Million nationwide cooperative advertising campaign which took away virtually all of Armstrong's clients. Once again Herbert was beaten.
Up until 1926 Armstrong's early life had been devoted to selling, marketing and advertising services. During this time he adopted his distinctive copy and layout style of presentation in which upper and lower case words were mixed within the text for emphasis and impact. This writing style became his own trademark which he never abandoned throughout his life.
In Fall 1926 while visiting Armstrong’s parents in Salem, Oregon, Herbert's wife Loma was introduced by her in-laws’ to Emma Runcorn. Mrs. Runcorn and her husband O.J. were lay leaders in the Oregon Conference of the Church of God, Seventh Day. They introduced Loma to the Saturday Sabbath doctrine. Hearing about Loma's new found religious fanaticism, Herbert became incensed. Loma challenged him to find biblical support for Sunday observance. Armstrong began an extensive study of scripture too prove Loma wrong.
In Spring 1927 after spending many weeks at Portland Public Library, to his astonishment, his study revealed that the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week. As a result both Herbert and Loma began keeping the Saturday Sabbath. Armstrong frequently consulted with an evangelical minister and was then baptized in May/June 1927 by the Pastor of the Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. Herbert once said of this Pastor, "The man is the most godly man in all of Portland." Shortly after that, Armstrong and Loma began fellowship with a Church of God (Seventh Day) group in Salem, Oregon.
On October 13, 1928 Herbert & Loma welcomed their first son Richard David "Dick" Armstrong. The Armstrong family was living at: 1831 Klickitat St. in Portland. On February 9, 1930 Herbert & Loma welcomed their second son Garner Ted Armstrong. The Armstrong family was now living at: 839 E. 75th St. N. in Portland. In Spring 1931 the Armstrong family moved from Portland to nearby Salem (Mulino? Armstrong's parents?).
In June 1931 Herbert W. Armstrong was ordained by the Oregon Conference of The Church of God, which took place in Eugene, Oregon but the Great Depression was beginning and he was later temporary laid off as a Minister. In December 1932 Armstrong took a temporary advertising job in Astoria, Oregon with "The Morning Messenger" newspaper. In February 1933 Herbert got his full time ministry back but was paid only $3.00 a week salary. Local membership, mostly farmers supplied the Armstrong family with vegetables and grains for meals and paid their house rent.
On April 21, 1933 Herbert's father, Horace Elon Armstrong died in Mulino, Oregon at age 70, a day after his birthday on a farm Horace and his wife had owned. In August 1933 Armstrong was in Harrisburg, Oregon at a meeting of the Church of God, Oregon Conference and had a falling out, telling them to keep the $3.00 a week salary. Although he never resigned from the Conference and was never removed.
In October 1933 Armstrong learned that KORE Eugene, Oregon, a local radio station, offered 15 minutes of free daily broadcasting time as a public service. This was an opportunity to instantly reach several hundred listeners at once. Herbert immediately went down to the station, and was given free airtime the following week.
On Monday morning October 9, 1933 Herbert W. Armstrong broadcast his first morning devotional program over KORE at 7:45am, beginning with his trademark opening "Greetings, Friends" and was promptly seized by fear. Struggling through his first five minutes, Armstrong gradually gained comfort. After his forth 15 minute program, trouble on October 12th. That Thursday after the broadcast, Frank Hill, KORE Owner & Manager had both good and bad news.
The good news: The messages Armstrong had broadcast were unlike anything radio listeners had ever heard before. They wanted to learn more, they made phone calls and sent in letters to the radio station, asking for literature, even though Herbert did not offer any.
The bad news: Armstrong’s listeners had confronted their Pastors and asked them why they were preaching the opposite of what the Bible taught. Embarrassed, these local ministers got together and informed Mr. Hill that they did not want Armstrong preaching on the air anymore. And to make certain of this, one of them would be at the station every morning thereafter to take up the free airtime.
Mr. Hill could no longer give Herbert free air time, but liked the listener response, and he thought highly of Armstrong’s broadcasting voice. Frank suggested to Herbert, they work out a half-hour radio program, broadcasting it as a public service every Sunday. Hill offered to sell him a half-hour segment on Sunday mornings for less than half of what it would cost the station, $2.50 per half hour.
On Sunday January 7, 1934 KORE began airing Herbert W. Armstrong's new 30 minute program called "Radio Church of God" at 10:00am. On February 1, 1934 "The Plain Truth" magazine began. Herbert had borrowed a typewriter and bought some mimeograph stencils and paper. Having free, temporary access to a mimeograph machine, Armstrong produced and published the inaugural edition. The address for the magazine was 560 4th Ave. West, Eugene, Ore. By August 1934 the Armstrong's were still living in Salem, Oregon at: 1142 Hall St. In July 1935 "The Plain Truth" magazine ceased publishing for 2 1/2 years.
On November 22, 1936 "Radio Church of God" expanded its reach Sunday's at 10:00am via Postal telegraph wires to 500 watt KSLM Salem, Oregon & 250 watt KXL Portland in addition to flagship station 100 watt KORE Eugene. On September 5, 1937 "Radio Church of God" continuing on KORE with KSLM at 10:00am but switched stations in Portland to more powerful KWJJ with 500 watts. However the same time slot wasn't available, so after the morning broadcast from KORE, Armstrong would drive 123 miles to Portland and deliver the KWJJ program live at 4:00pm. His Eugene to Portland drives would continue for many years on Sundays.
On January 1, 1938 "The Plain Truth" magazine returned, now professionally printed. By September 1940 the Armstrong family was living at: 1608 West 6th Ave. in Eugene. On September 15, 1940 "Radio Church of God" began on 1,000 watt KRSC Seattle, Wash., Sunday's at 4:00pm. The first Seattle broadcast was live. KWJJ & KORE audiences heard a transcribed program. The KRSC broadcasts would continue with the use of electrical transcriptions, recorded on Thursday nights.
On Sunday December 7, 1941 Herbert W. Armstrong was live on KWJJ at 4:00pm, broadcasting a program driven by the devastating news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Within the broadcast Armstrong explained the prophetic meaning behind the earth-shattering event.
On August 9, 1942 "Radio Church of God" became known as "The World Tomorrow" on KORE, KRSC & heard Sunday's on KWJJ at 5:30pm. In early August 1942 "The World Tomorrow" began on 10,000 watt KGA Spokane, Sunday's 8:00am and 1,000 watt KMTR Los Angeles, Sunday's 9:30pm with over the air pick up via 250 watt KFMB San Diego, aired at the same time.
On August 30, 1942 "The World Tomorrow" began on 50,000 watt WHO Des Moines, Sunday's at 11:00pm. Herbert W. Armstrong was live at WHO delivering the program via Postal telegraph lines, he called the Liberty Network to: KMTR, KFMB, KRSC, KWJJ, KGA, KORE. Armstrong said: "For the first time in my life I was speaking from the studios of WHO to a nationwide audience!" Here now is the original announcer introduction: "The World Tomorrow! At this same time every Sunday, Herbert W. Armstrong analyzes today's news, with the prophecies of The World Tomorrow!"
On January 3, 1943 "The World Tomorrow" in Portland switched back to KXL, now with 10,000 watts at 8:30am. The most powerful station in Oregon. Armstrong claimed to be very poor at the time but other members of the Oregon Church of God reported, they would often see him dining in Portland's finest restaurants as they passed by outside. In April 1943 "The World Tomorrow" added 5,000 watt KVI Tacoma, Sunday's 9:30am. In August 1943 WHO Des Moines canceled "The World Tomorrow."
On August 22, 1943 "The World Tomorrow" added two stations. 5,000 watt KRNT Des Moines and fed to 1,000 watt KMA Shenandoah, Iowa at 10:15pm. In September 1943 "The World Tomorrow" was added to 100 watt KNET Palestine, Texas, Sunday's at 9:30am, after the station had asked to run the program. On May 2, 1943 "The World Tomorrow" began on 50,000 watt WOAI San Antonio, Sunday's at 11:00pm.
In May 1944 Armstrong was back visiting Hollywood using its quality recording facilities as often as possible and began investigating a potential large-scale printing operation, since the Eugene printing company was reaching capacity. The idea of permanently moving to southern California was taking shape. On October 8, 1944 Rev. Herbert W. Armstrong performed the marriage for Abigail Boyd to Ensign Jack E. Hill at "Little Chapel of The Chimes" in Portland.
On October 22, 1944 "The World Tomorrow" began on 100,000 watt Super Power XELO Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Sunday's at 8:00pm, broadcasting to the Nation & Canada. On October 1, 1945 "The World Tomorrow" began on 50,000 watt XERB Rosarito Beach, Mexico, Sunday's 9:00pm. By November 1945 Armstrong was driving to Portland and recording two, half hour programs each day, spending an average of three days a week in The Rose City. A telephone line had been installed in his Eugene office with the recording studio in Portland but it was not satisfactory.
On November 25, 1945 "The World Tomorrow" began on 150,000 watt Super Power XEG Guadalupe, Mexico, directional North & Northeast. Sunday's 8:00pm. Heard in Middle America, West & South.
In December 1945 recording moved to Hollywood. Armstrong was beginning to see his work becoming a worldwide organization, yet the headquarters in Eugene did not reflect this. The publishing and mailing of 75,000 magazines had now grown too large for the local printing company. Producing top-quality broadcast recordings was causing the work to outgrow its Eugene facilities. Moving office headquarters to Southern California went from an idea to a necessity. But the Armstrong's didn't want to live in Hollywood or Los Angeles, so they set their sights on Pasadena, whose pace of life was more traditional.
On December 3, 1945 XELO began six nights a week Monday thru Saturday at 8:00pm. On December 17, 1945 XEG began six nights a week Monday thru Saturday at 8:00pm. In December 1945 while in Hollywood recording the daily programs for XELO & XEG, Armstrong began his search for office space. Weeks turned into months. On February 3, 1946 "The World Tomorrow" new time at 4:30pm on KXL Sundays. Continued on KVAN at 10:00pm Sunday's. On March 3, 1946, the Radio Church of God was officially incorporated within the state of California. Armstrong purchased a mansion just off of the Rose Parade route on Orange Grove Boulevard and acquired his own printing plant.
In 1947 Art Gilmore became the official voice heard at the top of every World Tomorrow program for decades. Gilmore was a well-known announcer on national radio shows like: Amos "N" Andy & Red Ryder and later TV shows like: Highway Patrol. Gilmore began in broadcasting in 1935 at KOL Seattle. Moving in 1936 to KFWB Hollywood. Then to KNX Los Angeles. Before Art Gilmore "The World Tomorrow" used several different radio announcers. Here now is the most remembered program introduction for Herbert performed by Art Gilmore: "The World Tomorrow! Herbert W. Armstrong brings you The Plain Truth about today's world news. And the prophecies of The World Tomorrow!" Herbert: "Well greetings friends, this is Herbert W. Armstrong with the good news of The World Tomorrow."
In August 1947 the Radio Church of God offices completed their move from Eugene, Oregon to Pasadena, Calif. On October 8, 1947 Ambassador College was opened in Pasadena, Calif. On January 7, 1953 "The World Tomorrow" began broadcasting to all of Europe via "Radio Luxembourg." On Sunday October 25, 1953 "The World Tomorrow" became an ABC Radio Network program on 175 stations. Atlantic Coast time, 11:35am. Middle-West, Central Standard Time, 11:05am. Mountain States, 12:05pm, and Pacific Coast, 11:05am. On June 28, 1955 "The Plain Truth" magazine reported "Radio Church of God" had cancelled "The World Tomorrow" on the ABC Radio Network.
On Sunday July 24, 1955 "The World Tomorrow" became a Television program. The 30 minute back & white TV version was recorded on film and was shown on a portion of the ABC Television Network. The first stations to air the program were: WABC-TV New York, 11:30pm; WBKB Chicago, 9:00am; KTLA Los Angeles, 10:00pm; KOA-TV Denver, 1:00pm; KLZ-TV Denver, 10:30pm; KLOR Portland, 9:30pm; KLTV Tyler, Texas, 10:45pm. (Because of lower rates and exceptional times offered on two of Denver's best stations, we are using both stations).
The following Sunday on July 31, 1955 additional TV stations began carrying "The World Tomorrow" syndicated program: KPRC-TV Houston, 11:30pm; KMBC-TV Kansas City, 10:30pm; KTNT-TV Tacoma, 10:30pm; KOVR Stockton, 10:30pm; KTVH Hutchinson, Kans., 2:30pm; KCMC-TV Texarkana, Tex., 10:30pm. On April 14, 1956 Eight radio stations in Australia began broadcasting "The World Tomorrow" once a week. On July 30, 1958 Herbert's son Richard David "Dick" Armstrong died at age 29 in a three car pile up in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
By March 1960 son Garner Ted Armstrong was heard occasionally on the radio version of "The World Tomorrow." On October 16, 1960 a second campus of Ambassador College opened at Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire, England, On September 19, 1961 Herbert's mother Eva Wright Armstrong died at age 95 in Los Angeles. On September 8, 1964 a third campus of Ambassador College opened in Big Sandy, Texas. On April 15, 1967 Herbert's wife Loma Isabelle Armstrong died at age 75 in Los Angeles.
By October 1967 Garner Ted Armstrong had taken over radio broadcasts of "The World Tomorrow" but father Herbert W. Armstrong continued to be seen on the TV version. Here now is the most remembered radio introduction for Garner Ted performed by Art Gilmore: "The World Tomorrow! Ambassador College presents Garner Ted Armstrong, bringing you The Plain Truth about today's world news. And the prophecies of The World Tomorrow!" Garner: "And greetings friends around the world, this is Garner Ted Armstrong with the good news of The World Tomorrow."
On January 5, 1968 the "Radio Church of God" changed its name to the "Worldwide Church of God." In 1968 Herbert W. Armstrong met Belgium's King Leopold III, who was instrumental in arranging many of Armstrong's meetings with heads of state in the future.
In October 1969 Garner Ted Armstrong was now the voice and face of "The World Tomorrow" having taken over TV broadcasts with 40 million viewers. His radio broadcasts were heard on 229 stations and approximately 100 foreign radio stations. It was speculated that with Garner Ted's charisma and personality, he was the logical successor to Herbert. "Worldwide Church of God" annual budget in 1969 was $34 Million. In 1970 $32 Million, and in 1971 $35 Million.
In January 1972 Garner Ted Armstrong, 41, was taken off "The World Tomorrow" Radio & TV programs because of a "church controversy." He had confessed to being "in the bond of Satan" and was "disfellowshipped." (the church's term for excommunication). Radio & TV tapes of 79 year old Herbert W. Armstrong filled the time periods and revenue reportedly dropped as a consequence. Herbert told his followers a financial crisis was facing the church. On March 15, 1972 Herbert W. Armstrong had a 40-minute meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Eisaku Sato.
In July 1972 Garner Ted Armstrong returned to "The World Tomorrow" confirming his absence because of "spiritual as well as mental and physical problems." In August 1972 it was reported the "Worldwide Church of God" had annual budget of $41 Million. On June 19, 1973 Herbert W. Armstrong met with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. In 1973 it was reported the "Worldwide Church of God" had annual budget of $53 Million.
On February 23, 1974 Six Ministers of the "Worldwide Church of God" resigned, alleging sexual improprieties, squandering of money and citing doctrinal differences. The Ministers charged that Herbert W. Armstrong concealed from the membership over a period of years the alleged adultery of his son Garner Ted Armstrong, who said: "I would not address myself to the charges, either to confirm or to deny." John Mitchell, one of the dissidents said "the last straw" in Garner Ted's alleged sexual misconduct was a relationship with a young stewardess who accompanied him on Ambassador College-leased jet planes.
On May 6, 1974 Herbert W. Armstrong officiated at the dedication of the $10 Million "Ambassador Auditorium" concert hall in Pasadena. On June 23, 1974 Herbert W. Armstrong met Jordan's King Hussein. On March 18, 1975 "Ambassador International Cultural Foundation" was created. The foundation's efforts reached into several continents, providing staffing and funds to fight illiteracy, to create schools for the disabled, to set up mobile schools, and for several archaeological digs of biblically significant sites. On February 17, 1976 Herbert W. Armstrong met with Sir Milo B. Butler, Governor General of the Bahamas.
In 1976 Herbert W. Armstrong moved to Tucson, Arizona. On April 17, 1977 Herbert W. Armstrong, 84, married divorcee Ramona Martin, 38. Son, Garner Ted Armstrong officiated at the wedding. On August 16, 1977 Herbert W. Armstrong suffered a massive heart attack in his Tucson home. Garner Ted Armstrong attempted to seize control. "My son assumed authority beyond that delegated to him," Herbert charged. In 1977 it was reported the "Worldwide Church of God" had annual budget of $68 Million.
On May 18, 1978 Herbert W. Armstrong announced his decision to return to regular broadcasts of "The World Tomorrow" and imposed a six-month banishment on his son and ordered him to contact no one outside his immediate family. Son Garner Ted & wife Shirley were barred from church owned homes in Pasadena and Big Sandy, Texas. Herbert accused his son of imitating commercial broadcasters on his radio and television programs and not having enough religious content in them.
On June 28, 1978 Herbert W. Armstrong announced (for the second time) he had disfellowshipped his son Garner Ted Armstrong and said: "My son spread the rumor that my mind had gone senile. He is guilty of what he accuses -- his mind has become filled with HATE, ANTAGONISM -- and has become UNSTABLE." He was asked to return all church credit cards. Garner Ted Armstrong said he was "bewildered" by his father's action.
In 1978 Garner Ted Armstrong founded "Church of God International", in Tyler, Texas. On November 23, 1978 Herbert's brother Russell Maxwell Armstrong died at age 78 in Clackamas, Oregon. In July 1982 Herbert W. Armstrong met Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles. In October 1982 Herbert W. Armstrong and wife Ramona Armstrong were separated. In November 1982 Herbert W. Armstrong met President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya & Spain's King Juan Carlos I.
On April 26, 1983 Herbert W. Armstrong divorced Ramona, after seven years of marriage. A bitter litigation reportedly cost the church more than $5 Million in legal fees. On November 6, 1984 Herbert W. Armstrong met Deng Xiaoping, top leader of the People's Republic of China. On November 17, 1984 Herbert's brother Dwight Leslie Armstrong died at age 80 in Sequim, Washington. On February 13, 1985 the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce gave Herbert W. Armstrong its Civic Achievement Award.
In August 1985 Herbert W. Armstrong taped his final two World Tomorrow broadcasts and became ill. On January 10, 1986 Herbert W. Armstrong appointed Joseph W. Tkach who was Director of Church Administration, to the office of Deputy Pastor General, to succeed him, if God should take his life.
On January 16, 1986 Herbert W. Armstrong died at age 93. Armstrong had been confined to his home on the Worldwide Church of God's Pasadena campus, refusing to see or talk to family members. A church spokesman said Armstrong died at 5:59am while resting in the favorite chair of his late wife, Loma. On January 19, 1986 approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral, including a number of political figures from other countries. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Calif., next to his wife Loma, his son Richard and his mother, Eva.
References: Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Nashua Telegraph, The Oregonian, The Plain Truth magazine, The San Diego Union, Torrance Daily Breeze, Wikipedia.