Ian Armstrong, an all-league first team flanker on Elsie Allen High School's vaunted rugby squad, died in his sleep of unknown causes Oct. 16. He was 22.
Born Nov. 12, 1990, Ian Stewart Rigby Armstrong was the youngest of four children born to Barbara Rigby and Ronald Stewart Armstrong.
A boy with boundless energy, Armstrong flew around his Rohnert Park home jumping off of furniture and anything he could climb, his sister Mandy Rigby Armstrong of Santa Rosa said.
“He had a knack for launching himself off of everything,” she said.
The family moved to Santa Rosa when Armstrong was entering high school and he enrolled at Elsie Allen High School.
Standing slightly taller than 6-feet, 6-inches, Armstrong was convinced to try out for Elsie Allen's celebrated rugby team.
“He was an amazing natural athlete but a guy that laughed a lot,” said Alan Petty, the Lobos' rugby coach and athletic director. “He was a very fierce competitor but he was smiling more than he was upset.”
“There were games where he was an unstoppable force,” Petty said.
In his final year at Elsie Allen, Armstrong was stricken with a severe infection that sent him to the hospital for weeks. Lobo coach Dan Bartholome drove to the hospital every day after practice and talked with Armstrong, Petty said.
“His coaches were awesome,” Rigby Armstrong said. “They were super supportive. They were mentors.”
After graduating from Elsie Allen, Armstrong began working at Storage Master Santa Rosa where he worked up until his death. His employers mentored him and supported his plans to return to school, according to Rigby Armstrong.
“He liked being valuable,” Rigby Armstrong said. “He liked knowing what he was doing.”
She recalled the time he bought a bike from a customer who was falling on hard times. That same customer showed up some time later, walking, because his other bike had been stolen.