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1949 Les Armes 2023

Les Armes

September 14, 1949 — August 20, 2023

Moline, Illinois

Melvin “Les” Armes, 73, of Moline, Illinois, passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 20, 2023.

Mass of Christian Burial is 1:00 p.m. Friday, August 25 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Moline. Visitation is 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Thursday in the Horizon Room at Trimble Funeral Home at Trimble Pointe, 701 12th Street, Moline. Memorials may be made to the family for a fund to be established in Les’ memory.

Les was born September 14, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Melvin and Marilyn Jean (Butler) Armes. His mother died shortly after his birth and he was raised by his grandparents, Mary Francis and Harold Butler with his uncles Bob and John.

He attended University High School in Normal, Illinois, where he began his lifelong love of wrestling, compiling a 98-8 record and third-place finish in the Illinois State tournament. He attended Black Hawk College where he was undefeated and won back-to-back NJCAA Championships in 1969 and ‘70 and was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

In 1971, Les married Teresa Dunavin of Moline, to whom he was married 52 years. Les also won the USA Wrestling Federation National freestyle championship, which earned him a place in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, as well as a scholarship to wrestling-powerhouse Oklahoma State.

While qualified for the Olympic trials, Les was unable to attend while being treated for brain cancer. He underwent surgery but his condition deteriorated. Unable to speak or eat, the bed-ridden Les was given five weeks to live. Teresa’s doctor intervened and Les made a miraculous recovery, leaving him in a race to learn to walk with his infant son, Tony. Les then completed his degree at St. Ambrose University. After graduation, Les wrestled one last time at the Old Timers Tournament in Iowa and took first place.

For a short time, Les taught and coached at Sherrard and Alleman High School. He then worked many years at Chicago Tube and Iron. His true passion was coaching the sophomores at Moline High. He guided hundreds of youth in both wrestling and in life, which gave him immense joy and satisfaction.

Les won many awards, including the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Medal of Courage in 2003. Les was beloved by many in the community, and even more so by his adoring wife and four children. He enjoyed grilling, woodworking, walking his dog, Diogi, and play-wrestling his seven grandchildren. He took his family on several vacations and was a strong, inspirational role-model. Les faced many opponents and illnesses in his life, and finally succumbed at home surrounded by his family.

Les is survived by his wife, Teresa; children, Tony, Lisa (Devin), Aaron, and Angie (David); brother, Mike (Melanie); sister, Lucy; in-laws, Kay (Larry), Margaret (Richard), Liz (Jeff), and River (Dorene); and grandchildren, Ainja, Chloe, Patrick, Sasha, Eliot, Jacob, and Mina.

The family invites friends to share stories and condolences at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Les Armes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, August 24, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Horizon Room at Trimble Pointe (Upper Level)

701 12th Street, Moline, IL 61265

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, August 25, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

1307 17th Ave., Moline, IL 61265

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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