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Armando Antonio Ortiz “A.J.” and “Tito”, age 20, passed away November 12, 2023. He was born in Curry County, New Mexico on February 21, 2003, to Armando Thomas Ortiz and Audrey Casandra Gonzales Pillar. As a military child and Stepson to Steven Daniel Pillar, Armando moved from Florida to North Carolina during his sixth-grade year in 2014 and graduated from Western Harnett High School in 2021. Armando played football throughout his life and high school, which brought a great deal of happiness to him. More than anything Armando loved teaching his younger brothers how to play football. Though Armando decided to stay in North Carolina to pursue his independence, he frequently made time to visit his family and old friends in Florida. Though Armando was busy trying to make a life of his own he always made time for his family and friends and would frequently talk to his brothers and mother more than once a day. Armando was known as a “mama’s boy” and would frequently joke and talk about everyday life with her. Armando was known most of all for his kind heart, the peacekeeper and being a genuinely good person that cared deeply for the people he loved. Armando had a love for “Spiderman” ever since he was a small child, which continued into his young adulthood of which he had several custom works of art and collectibles that he cherished.
Growing up with his stepfather Steven, which is a Combat Controller, Armando went on many trips to go fishing and learn to shoot with several types of firearms . With in his first try of the pistol he scored at the adult level and won the competition that day and was extremely proud of himself. Armando loved hearing of the many journeys his stepfather had while overseas and jumping out of airplanes as well as all the other extreme activities involved in being a Combat Controller. Armando was an accomplished, well-known aspiring graphic artist and had extreme knowledge in technology which reflected in him being able to build his own pc’s beginning at the age of 13. He taught himself how to work in several advanced graphic software programs and collaborated with many other artists to create content. Armando was an avid animal lover and rescued many of which he deeply cared for. Armando worked as a heavy equipment operator for the past two years at Fred Smith Construction in Raleigh, NC., and was known for being a dedicated hard worker, quick learner, a truly kind soul, and was a natural leader. Some would say that Armando gained a sense of strong leadership due to being able to work daily with his father at Fred Smith Construction, which allowed them to have lunches daily and allowed his father to see his son grow into an independent young man. Armando loved touring the Raleigh area to enjoy the lively arts, music, food, and skateboarding. He loved doing photography and videography of his daily life but most of all his WRX and would ensure to go to extreme measures to get the perfect photographs by climbing like “Spiderman”, onto beams and such according to his car club friends at Team Obsessed. Armando met members of Team Obsessed while photographing his car in downtown Fayetteville, NC, and from there he gained a large group of great friends of which taught him more about the customization of his car and they believed Armando to be a genuinely good person that was extremely driven to get any job done no matter the amount of hard work or time.
Armando was survived by his mother, Audrey (Steven) Pillar; father, Armando (Guadalupe Vargas) Ortiz; by his siblings, Daniel Armando Ortiz, Anthony Jaiden Ortiz, Steven Alexander Pillar, by his grandparents, Paul (Stephanie) Gonzales; maternal grandfather, Amanda Toscano; maternal grandmother; Michael (Geraldine) Pillar; step-grandparents by his paternal grandfather; Manuel Armando Ortiz, paternal grandmother; Modesta Acunà.
Armando is preceded in death by his maternal grandfather; Ernest Tijerina, maternal grandmother; Adela Tijerina, maternal uncle Stephen Antonio Gonzales.)
A Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 9:30 am at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 am.
Following the Funeral Mass there will be a Memorial Lunch in which the location will be posted shortly.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS DONATIONS TO:
Instead of flowers the family is asking for donations due to the unexpected early departure of their young son. This will help the heightened costs of transitioning Armando from their last duty station of North Carolina to the current duty station of Florida, along with all other expenses incurred.