Carroll Armstrong
(1944 - 2009)

Carroll Armstrong
Nickname: Bookie

MD, United States of America
October 23, 1944

MD, United States of America
December 20, 2009

Jazz, Playing instruments, Travel, Family!
Contributions in Carroll’s name are welcome for the Margaret DeMan Armstrong Award for Excellence for Baltimore School for the Arts graduating seniors. Checks should be made out to Associated Black Charities, 1114 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, with Armstrong Award noted on the memo line.

Or you can send it to the attention of:
Mrs. Barbara Armstrong
32 Roland Green
Baltimore, MD 21210


Carroll (Bookie) Robbins Armstrong was born in Baltimore on October 23, 1944. He was the youngest of three boys born to the late William O. Armstrong II and Margaret DeMan Armstrong. Carroll was baptized and took his first communion at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. He later attended and was an altar boy at St. Edward’s Catholic Church. Carroll attended both Catholic and Baltimore Public Schools and graduated from Forest Park High School in 1962. He attended Peabody Conservatory, studying trumpet and piano, and was subsequently accepted at The Julliard School of Music.

After going to New York for school, he found his way to the Village and the jazz he had listened to since his early teenage years, starting with the music of his neighbor Gary Bartz. There in New York, he found company playing trumpet and keyboards among many who went on to become jazz legends, such as Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean, as well as his neighbor Gary. As jazz in that period was starting to head out west, Carroll made a stop in Baltimore to visit his family before taking the westward trek. That side trip to Baltimore turned into a more permanent stay after teaming up with his brother Rocky and the group that he managed, The Softones, with whom his other brother Billy occasionally played congas. Carroll took on the role of head of the horn section, applying his mastery of the trumpet. Traveling south with the group, they opened for musical acts like the Chi-Lites and the Commodores, as well as Curtis Mayfield.

Continuing to put on hold the move out west, Carroll took a position with the Civil Service Commission in Baltimore. In his short tenure there, he developed a counseling service in conjunction with local unions to increase city employee performance by addressing treatable personal problems and illnesses. Occurring concurrently with his time with the Civil Service Commission was the formation of the Baltimore Convention Bureau. The director of the Commission saw something in Carroll that led her to recommend him for one of the sales and marketing positions. Carroll was successful in his interview and, subsequently, in his new role, effectively lured one of the first conventions to the Baltimore Convention Center. This feat was impressive as there was no actual convention center, only a hole in the ground. Carroll applied the skills he had honed as a musician to his position with the Bureau. He saw himself as orchestrating all the elements that enticed a group to hold its meeting in the city.

Carroll went on to have the distinction of being on the opening team of three convention centers: Baltimore, Washington, DC, New Orleans, and the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. He was most proud of the opportunity to return to Baltimore upon the opening of the expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center. He had gone in a little less than 20 years from the junior man on the team to the head of the newly named Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. Carroll held progressively more responsible roles as he moved around the country. From his 1978 start in the convention and meetings industry, focusing on convention and visitor bureaus and convention centers, with the original team of the Baltimore Convention Bureau, he went on in 1981 to a national sales position with the Washington, DC, Convention and Visitors Association, and in 1984 to director of sales and marketing for the New Orleans Convention Center. In 1987, he was recruited by the San Diego Convention Center Corporation to lead the marketing department, where he developed its program and increased revenues for the Center. In 1996, he became president and CEO of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, where he envisioned a major hotel connected by a bridge to the Convention Center, and where he worked with a design team to create a visitors’ center in the Inner Harbor that did not obstruct views of the water. Carroll formed CRA Enterprises in 2003 and pursued a variety of consulting contracts around the country. In 2005, Carroll retired from the hospitality industry following a stint with, a meeting planning web portal.

Carroll held leadership roles in many meetings’ industry organizations, including being co-founder and first national president of the Association of Convention Marketing Executives (ACME), chairman of the Awards Committee for the International Association of Exposition Managers (IAEM), USA Ambassador to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), and a member of committees within the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Inc., and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). He was the recipient of numerous awards and citations from local, national and international organizations. He has been featured in a number of hospitality industry publications as well as in a hospitality text book. Carroll was an outstanding speaker who was often in demand.

His career took him and his wife of 30 years, Barbara, to many cities where they formed many strong personal relationships. As a child growing up in Baltimore, Carroll was known as “Bookie.” He was still called by that nickname by lifelong friends he made in school activities and sports, vacationing at Arundel on the Bay and through membership in Jack and Jill, the Imperials and other more informal groups where the relationships continue to this day. As a teenager, he composed and played music as a member of the Baltimore Jazz Quintet (BJQ). Over the years, he enjoyed participating in jam sessions wherever he went and developed a following of both professional colleagues and personal friends with his trumpet and jazz piano stylings. Carroll’s love of music emanated from his special relationship with his mother, Margaret Armstrong, who is a musical and cultural arts icon in Baltimore city. He also was a Connecting Link and had many enjoyable moments as a member of the Baltimore Mules

Carroll was a devoted family man. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, of almost 30 years, his mother, Margaret, brother Roderick (Gloria) all of Baltimore, MD, special aunt, Frances Ashby, and Cleo Kendall (Ken) of Chicago, sister-in-law Brenda Saddler (David), brothers-in-law Harry (Connie), Benjamin (Donna), and Michael (Sharon) Blount. His brother Bill predeceased him. He is also survived by a host of nephews, nieces, godchildren, as well as a number of cousins.

Carroll died peacefully after a brief illness with his wife at his bedside on December 20, 2009, at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He leaves to mourn his passing: family members and innumerable friends. Carroll lived a full, exuberant life and was loved by many. He heard the final trumpet call and transitioned home to be with the Lord.

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (23 entries)
When its time for me to move to the other zone where you are, I'll find you and we will continue to be... "2 wild and crazy guys!"...Until then....RIP , my Brother ...🙏🏼
Reginald Daniels (Best of friends)
October 24th, 2016
Missing you Uncle
Tiffany Blount-Barnes
October 24th, 2014
Carroll was the epitome of "Suave" with an unforgettable "Swagger" that set the standard for a gentleman wherever he went. A walking "style guide" and an inspiration to all of us that appreciate a well-dressed man. Always tasteful, sporting a "fashion-forward outfit. While never overstated, his sense for combining classic attire with the lastest accessories, Carroll was unapologetically COOL!!! His memory lives on for many of us, his adoring fans....
Adrian Harpool (admirer)
October 24th, 2014
Never Forgotten
Dana Taylor (co-worker)
October 23rd, 2014
Barbara and Family, We all loved Bookie so much. I loved what you wrote about what time brings to your heart. He left us, you, much too soon. I still hear his laugh, remember that trumpet from our youth, his tinkling the keys and how much he loved you. He defied those who said he was done, and made a life, a career and a respected reputation. He was a good man, a helluva guy.
I wrap my arms of support and love around you, and keep you and Bookie deep in my thoughts and meditations.
Marc Steiner (Dear Friend )
October 23rd, 2014
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"Awesome mentor! My vision and direction changed for the better under your leadership at BACVA and your encouragement after BACVA was appreciated. So glad to have been associated with you and your family. Carroll Armstrong~Never forgotten"
Dana Taylor
October 23rd, 2014
"I was listing to some jazz last night and the horns are always a very clear reminder of you. I know your soul is resting. Rest Easy my friend rest easy!"
Jessica Brown
August 14th, 2014
"We will miss your ideas and exchanges at our meetings. The Mules have lost a beloved member."
Chuck Thomas
January 7th, 2010
"12/30/2009 Dear Barbara, Please accept my condolences on the loss of your dear and beloved Carroll. I have the fondest memories of him and our days at the San Diego Convention Center! He was a great mentor who I learned so much from. He will forever "
Jane Krause
January 1st, 2010
"12/31/2009 To the Family of Mr. Armstrong. Life cannot prepare us for the loss of a loved. But we can find comfort in knowing that God is near to those who mourn. Please find that comfort recorded at Psalms 34:18. Also the promised of possibly seeing"
Marilynn ?
January 1st, 2010
"01/01/2010 Offering prayers for your comfort and gradual healing from your loss. I was inspired by the uplifting Homegoing celebration of Carroll's extraordinary life, as presented by testimonies from many of the lives he touched - both as Carroll a"
Peggy Beecham
January 1st, 2010


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