Some of the most influential faces in politics sat side by side in Rudder Auditorium Friday to honor a Texas trailblazer.
Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, Former Secretary of State James Baker, Republican Strategist Karl Rove and Texas Governor Rick Perry were among the hundreds who gathered to celebrate the life of Anne Armstrong.
Armstrong died July 30 at the age of 80. Advisor to four U.S. presidents and the first female ambassador to Great Britain, Armstrong had a special place in her heart for Aggieland.
Her late husband, Tobin was an Aggie and she served on the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.
"Mrs. Armstrong did not graduate from A&M. She never wore an Aggie ring, but she'll always be remembered as a matriarch of the Aggie family," Texas A&M President Elsa Murano said.
But long before Armstrong was a regent, she lived her life on the national political stage.
"At a time when women in politics were expected to just stuff envelopes and make coffee, she was a powerful and influential figure in the political life of our state and our country," former presidential advisor Karl Rove said.
She met now Vice President Dick Cheney more than three decades ago with neighboring offices in the West Wing of the White House.
"In the summer of 1976, Anne was serving as our ambassador to the United Kingdom," the Vice President recalled. "She was on the short list for Vice Presidential nominee. As an eye witness to President Ford's decision, I can tell you, Anne was almost chosen. With her on the ticket, we might have won that election," joked Cheney.
Although Armstrong's life of public service spanned over half a century, it's her private life that defined who she was.
"Her greatest legacy of all is of course her family. The children and grandchildren who will write the next chapters of the Armstrong story," said former Secretary of State James Baker.
"I can just see her being greeted at the pearly gates by the deep booming voice of Tobin Armstrong," Baker described. "Welcome home "super chick", he might say. I gave St. Peter the day off."
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