Family, friends pay tribute to Dongara pilot Darryl Thomas Armstrong

Tamra CarrMidwest Times
Darryl Armstrong and partner Chelsea Dennis.
Camera IconDarryl Armstrong and partner Chelsea Dennis. Credit: Armstrong family

Darryl Thomas Armstrong was a Dongara pilot, affectionately known as “One-Eye”.

He died on April 20 when his microlight hang-glider crashed on take-off by Coalseam Road north of Mingenew.

For work, the 58-year-old was a grader driver at Morawa Shire smoothing bush roads for a decade.

For fun, Mr Armstrong would take part in Perenjori Pistol Club shootouts and go on lengthy motorcycle rides with friends.

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Leslie Heaton said Mr Armstrong quickly earned the nickname One-Eye at the Pistol Club, because of his one eye.

The other was made of glass.

His moniker carried over to his social motorcycle club — which, according to former member John Bensdorp, remembers him as a prankster.

“He had a great sense of humour, did old One-Eye and he liked a practical joke every now and then,” Mr Bensdorp said.

“He was known a fair few times to pop the old glass eye out for a laugh.”

Mr Armstrong’s family also saw his funny side.

His partner Chelsea Dennis described him as her “soul mate”, while his mother Joan remembered when he was “just a small little tacker” who would always say he loved her.

Former roommate and long-time friend Mick Andrews said he was a “good fella”.

“We lived together about 10 years ago,” Mr Andrews said.

“He used to love shooting at the pistol club in Perenjori, he rode a Harley and he was really into gold detecting too.

“He used to take his dog Bell out looking for gold on weekends.”

Morawa Speedway stalwart, business owner and Shire councillor Shirley Katona said Mr Armstrong was a regular at the speedway, would come for a beer and socialise with the crowds.

Councillors Kenneth Stokes and Darren Agar described him as “well-respected and valuable member of the community”, and “a good bloke”.

Mr Armstrong moved to Dongara last year and became a member of Dongara Pistol Club last August.

President Rob Bryant said Mr Armstrong had always been up for a “beer and a yarn” and his death had been a “damn shame”.

Mr Armstrong is survived by Ms Dennis, children Tash and Nikki, granddaughters Piper and Ivy, grandparents Joan and Wally, brothers Gary, Paul, Steven and Warren and ex-wife Tracey.

His death is being investigated by the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia.

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