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Leon Armour, career Air Force officer

Leon Armour, career Air Force officer
Leon Armour was a retired decorated career Air Force officer who was a member of the City College Hall of Fame. (Baltimore Sun)

Leon Armour, a retired highly decorated career Air Force officer who was a member of the City College Hall of Fame, died Aug. 3 of liver cancer at his home in Gainesville, Va. He was 75.

The son of Capt. Thomas M. Armour, a career Army officer, and Clara Wall Armour, a telephone operator, Leon Armour was born in Morristown, N.J. In 1955, he moved with his family to Fort Holabird when his father was assigned there.

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Mr. Armour was one of the "first African-American students to complete the college prep curriculum and play varsity football, " said his sister, Dr. Karen M. Armour of Windsor Mill.

"Mr. Armour was the first African-American to graduate from the A Course at City," said Theodore "Ted" Lingelbach, of Parkville, a retired WFBR-AM news writer who edits the City College alumni newsletter.

After graduating from City in 1958, he enrolled at Howard University, where he played collegiate football for four years, was co-captain of the team in 1961-1962, and a member of the ROTC.

After earning a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1963, Mr. Armour was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force.

During his 25-year Air Force career, he held command and staff positions and had spent 15 of them as a navigator flying reconnaissance, transport and fighter aircraft.

At the time of his 1988 retirement, he had accumulated more than 3,500 flying hours and had flown combat missions in Vietnam. His decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

He was a life member of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and the Air Force Association.

After leaving the Air Force, he worked for 20 years as a U.S. Department of Defense contractor in modeling and simulation systems analysis, the last 13 years as a senior analyst for Science Applications International Corp., supporting modeling and simulation efforts for the Defense Department and NATO.

He retired in 2008 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Mr. Armour was a regular swimmer and attended the Penn Relays annually. He enjoyed travel, playing golf, and attending Washington Redskins and Howard University Bisons football games.

Mr. Armour retained a fondness for and a lifelong interest in City College, where he was an active member of its alumni association, was inducted into its Hall of Fame and was the school's commencement speaker in 2008.

He was also an active member of the Howard University Alumni Association and was a member of the 1963 class 50th reunion committee.

Mr. Armour, who lived in Gainesville, Va., was a member of Alfred Street Baptist Church, 301 S. Alfred St., Alexandria, Va., where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to his sister, Mr. Armour is survived by his wife of 39 years, the former Mary Ann Miller; a son, Leon Armour Jr. of Washington; a daughter, Susan Killen of Philadelphia; and a granddaughter.

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