He lived through both world wars. He knows what life was like before television, credit cards, computers, cell phones, and the Internet and social media. William “Bill” Clinton Armstrong III celebrated his 100th birthday this year and is looking forward to turning 101 in a couple of months.
Born in Seattle, Armstrong moved to Malibu in 1950 and bought a home on the beach for $15,000. He and his wife founded the Carden Malibu private school, and his children and grandchildren continue to run it. He is part of the Malibu Optimist Club and spent most of his career as the Controller of Space and Communications for Hughes Aircraft.
The Malibu Times got a chance to sit down with the man who says he has no regrets in life.
You celebrated your 100th birthday this year. What is the secret to a long and happy life?
Living in Malibu on the beach and exercising.
You have lived in Malibu for more than 60 years. What is your first recollection of Malibu?
My first recollection is when we took a bicycle ride to Malibu when I was in junior college. And then we would come cruising up here during the war. I was working at Douglas Aircraft at the time. We were spending too much travel time and decided to move here.
The world has changed a lot in your lifetime. In your opinion, how has it changed for the better and how has it changed for the worse?
It changed for the better when we had the Republicans in office and it changed for the worse when the president changed. Politics has gotten worse in the last several years.
What is one life lesson you would like to tell everyone?
I’ve always been an optimist. You have to look at the longer range of good things and not let the momentary bad things take you down. Remember that it will get better. Nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
If you were to recommend one good book for everyone to read, which one would it be and why?
The Bible because it has the truth in it. If you go by it, you can look back and see that you have gone the right way or the wrong way.
What is the greatest accomplishment in your life?
Raising a successful family that was able to carry on our work at the school and raising their own children.
What’s a unique fact about you that people don’t know?
My ancestors. The name Armstrong was given to a weapon carrier in Scotland.
What is your favorite thing about Malibu? If you could change one thing about Malibu, what would it be and why?
The people and the ocean. They could improve the traffic flow.
How was it having your portrait painted by Johanna Spinks?
It was wonderful. We had one portrait painted by the same person who was the official portraiture for Roosevelt as well. We have that one up on the wall and now we have this one too.