VIGNETTE > Nook Armager

Jolly Stores, June 23, 1963 – [click to enlarge]

Leslie Armager, known as “Nook” was born in 1909.  When he was 12 years old, he and two chums extinguished a large grass fire at Alto Ranch.  When he was 13 years old, he and Charles Huntoon, decided to swim across the upper end of Richardson Bay near Alto.  After Nook reached the opposite shore, Charles called out, obviously in distress.  Nook swam out to him, but despite Nook’s heroic efforts Charles drowned.  In 1961 when he was fire chief, Nook saved the life of a 3-year old girl after she was found at the bottom of her parents’ swimming pool. In 1932, he joined the Mill Valley Fire Department. In 1942 he was promoted to Fire Chief, a position he held for 27 years. He died on July 3, 1969, three days after he had retired. As a fireman and fire chief he had many interesting experiences.  He jokingly described the challenges of his job as rescuing children who had locked themselves in the bathroom, and counseling boys caught playing with matches.  Actually, there were many fires to fight.  The most destructive fire he fought was in June 1963 when the Jolly Stores building on Miller burned to the ground.  The Nook Armager redwood grove is located near the Boyle Park baseball field.