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DrexEllen "Drex" Armstrong

Posted on 1/31/2017, 10:51 AM

HARRISBURG – DrexEllen "Drex" Armstrong, 71, of Rochester, formerly of Harrisburg, passed away Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Memorial Medical Center.

She was born Oct. 19, 1945, in Harrisburg, the daughter of Carl Drexel and Mary Ellen (Johns) Beggs. She married David Armstrong on May 4, 1974, in Harrisburg.

Drex graduated from U. of I. in 1967, received her master"s in 1968 from SIUC, taught school in Paxton for five years and was president of the local teachers' union.

While teaching, she received a call over the school's PA system, "Miss Beggs, the governor"s office is on the phone for you." She was asked to be the first executive director of the Illinois State Labor Relations Board. After that, she worked as personnel officer at Madden Mental Health Center in Oak Park.

Drex was a member of the Women"s Political Caucus and was a Republican Committee Woman for Oak Park Township. Back in Springfield, she was the associate deputy director for personnel and finance at the Department of Mental Health. She also served on Rochester Library Board.

Drex was the First Lady of Rochester, the mayor"s wife. She was an antique dealer, enjoyed crossword puzzles and loved to cook – and was good at it. She was known for throwing great New Year"s Eve parties and hosting competitive games of Trivial Pursuit.

She enjoyed U. of I. Illini and Rochester Rockets sports, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Her husband often joked that he was a sports widower.

Survivors include her husband, David Armstrong; daughter, Laura Ellen (Andy) Mitkos of Chatham; brother, Sam (Mary Lynn) Beggs; two nieces, Katy (Javier) Beggs Sobrado and Ashton Beggs; and nephew, Ben Beggs.

Funeral services were at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in Wilson Park Funeral Home in Rochester with the Rev. Tom Jones officiating. Cremation followed. Visitation was from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Animal Protective League.

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