Trevor Armbrister, 72; Writer, Founder of Home Repair Charity

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Trevor Armbrister, 72, a correspondent for Reader’s Digest who was the ghostwriter on Gerald R. Ford’s bestselling presidential memoir “A Time to Heal” and founded a major humanitarian organization, died March 22 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Chevy Chase, Md.

After writing in the magazine about a Midland, Texas, charitable organization that refurbished houses and barns for needy families, Armbrister founded Christmas in April.

From 1988 to 1992, Armbrister was chairman of the organization, now called Rebuilding Together and which has grown into one of the largest volunteer home rehabilitation groups in the country, with 240 affiliates in 48 states.


Geoffrey Trevor Armbrister was born Dec. 4, 1933, in Norwalk, Conn., and graduated in 1956 from Washington and Lee University. He served in the Army, worked at a New York advertising firm and wrote for the Saturday Evening Post before joining Reader’s Digest in 1970.

His retelling of the 1969 murder of reform-minded United Mine Workers leader Joseph A. Yablonski and his family in his 1975 book “Act of Vengeance: The Yablonski Murders and Their Solution” was made into a 1986 television film starring Charles Bronson as Yablonski.