Kids who grew up in the ’60s might remember Miss Gloria reciting “Romper, bomper, stomper, boo” into the magic mirror on “Romper Room.”
A host of the local version of the children’s program, Gloria Armstrong died last week, just days before her 85th birthday.
Known as “Miss Gloria,” Armstrong was a teacher on KETV’s “Romper Room” for one year in the mid-1960s. She hosted the preschool program after a three-year stint on Des Moines’ version in the late 1950s. After “Romper Room,” she also appeared on educational shows on NET.
“Romper Room” was franchised, and local markets produced their own versions of the show. KETV’s ran for about two years, first with Miss Rosemary, then with Miss Gloria. Other versions with new hosts aired on KOLN in Lincoln and WOW (later WOWT) through the 1960s and ‘70s.
The shows were taped live with 4-year-olds listening to the teacher’s lessons. It could be chaotic. Miss Gloria’s best live TV story? The time the set fell on her in the middle of a broadcast, she told The World-Herald in the 1990s.
Born Gloria Graham in South Dakota in 1933, Armstrong spent part of her childhood in Korea, going to school and performing as a singer.
She met her husband of 65 years, Ken, at the lunch counter where she worked. He had come in just to see her.
Armstrong majored in education at Drake University, and she became involved in theater, performing at the Omaha Community Playhouse and the Rose Theater.
She volunteered for Radio Talking Books and spent time performing, playing tennis, playing bridge and traveling with her husband to countries including England, Germany, Korea, Spain, Turkey and Kenya.
She is survived by her husband, three children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A visitation and funeral service are planned at Westlawn Hillcrest Funeral Home at 5701 Center Street. The visitation is Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The funeral service will be Saturday at 11 a.m.