Kind, humble, caring, family oriented, future business owner and a military veteran are words family members used as they remembered Johnny Armstrong III.
"He was always full of love and hugs," his mother, Mary Ruth Davis, said. "I know God is big, but my son is right next to him."
Mr. Armstrong, a native of Temple, Texas was found dead with gun wounds Sunday on the 3300 block of Highway 11 and 80 in Lauderdale County. As of Friday, the Lauderdale County Department had no leads on the case, Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun said.
Mr. Armstrong is survived by a wife, Melissa; two daughters, Mykenzia, 6, Mykayla, 4; his mother, and many other relatives who are grieving his loss.
Family members said he was strong in his Christian faith, liked to hunt and go fishing.
He relocated to the Meridian area because his wife is from Toomsuba. They were married six years ago November when both were deployed to Japan by the Navy.
He served in the military from March 20, 2007 to Feb. 25, 2018, his family said, and came from a long line of family members who served. He had planned to be in the military for 20 years, but was medically discharged, family members said.
He returned to school to study cosmetology, graduated in 2019 and planned on opening a barbershop and tattoo shop.
Melissa Armstrong described her husband as a people person, humble and a family man. She said he loved his daughters.
“He was so kind and caring,” Melissa Armstrong said. “He was all around a good person."
She said his death feels like a bad dream and she doesn’t understand why someone would do anything to him.
She remembers him calling her three times a day and still waits for him to call.
“It is like a dream. I am going to wake up from any moment now,” she said. “If I keep telling myself if he could call he would call because he never would not call. It is like any minute I will wake up."
Davis tried to hold back tears as she described her son as a gentle giant, a big teddy bear and a family man. Davis said she remembers his smile the most.
"You would always see him smiling and laughing," Davis said.
She still is getting over the shock of losing her son and has a mix of emotions that include feeling robbed, angry, cheated and sad.
“I know he called down for me,” she said while crying.
Davis said she will remember her son for all the memories that she had with him and how he was loved his family. Davis said when her son was born, there was a glow to him.
“That is the way I felt for my child; he was so sweet,” she said.
Mr. Armstrong's cousin Byron Mills remembers each of them being supportive of each other. His cousin had big goals for himself and his family, Mills said.
“Johnny was more than a cousin to me, he was more like my son,” Mills said.
The family is relying on each other to get through a difficult time.
"We are hurting here in Texas right now," Mills said.
Melissa Armstrong said she plans to keep her husband's spirit alive by celebrating his birthday on Nov. 3 because he enjoyed parties. Since her daughters are so young, she said she will tell them about their father and how he brought so much life to everyone he was around.
“I just will allow him to live through his children,” she said. “I know his heart is here with his girls.”