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Ardis "Ardie" Arnold Stevens - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Ardis "Ardie" Arnold Stevens

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Ardis “Ardie” Arnold Stevens, 95, passed away on July 3, 2017, at Gallatin Rest Home in Bozeman, Montana.   A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 13 at 11:00 A.M. at Hope Lutheran Church, followed by a reception at the church.

Ardie was born June 13, 1922, at home in Fulton Township, Wisconsin to David and Eva Hudson Arnold.  They lived on a small farm with no indoor plumbing or electricity.  Ardie grew up with her two older brothers, Al and John, and a younger sister, Margaret “Marge”.   Life was pretty rough on the farm and Ardie had vivid memories of her brother, John, watching out for her as she used the outhouse, hog butchering, and storing pork in crocks sealed with fat in the cellar.  Ardie went to the Oakdale Elementary school on their property and Milton Union High School in Milton, Wisconsin.  She graduated from Whitewater College in 1941 with a degree in education.  Her first teaching position was first grade in Shawna, Wisconsin.  Later she taught at the Oakdale school in Janesville, Wisconsin.  In the summer of 1950 she went west seeking adventure and worked at the Grand Lake Lodge near Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.  The next year, and for years after, she worked summers at the Hamilton Store at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park returning each fall to her teaching job in Wisconsin.  Ardie loved Yellowstone and had dear friends who returned for years to the Fishing Bridge Hamilton Store.  In 1954, she began graduate studies in Journalism at Stanford University.  She interrupted her studies in December 1954 to marry DeLyle R. “Steve” Stevens who was District Ranger of the Lake District in Yellowstone National Park.  Ardie and Steve courted surrounded by the beauty of Yellowstone and enjoyed boat trips and picnics at Yellowstone Lake and backcountry horseback trips before and after their marriage. They were married in San Jose, California and made their home in Mammoth where Ardis taught at the local elementary school and became stepmother to Steve's three children, Sharie (15), David (18), and Richard (21).  A few years later the Mammoth school closed and Ardis began teaching at Gardiner Elementary School.   In 1959 Steve and Ardis moved to Hawaii where Steve became the Chief Ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Ardis taught at Mountain View Elementary School.  Ardie and Steve enjoyed their time in Hawaii which included the eruption of Kilauea Iki in 1959, multiple eruptions of Kilauea, and a major tsunami in 1960. They lived in Park Service housing and made many friends among Steve's co-workers.  In 1964, they moved to California where Steve became Superintendent of Pinnacles National Monument and Ardis taught at the Hollister, California, Elementary School.  In 1969 Steve retired from the National Park Service and they built their dream home in Bozeman, with floor plan by Ardie and architecture by her stepson, Richard.  In Bozeman, Ardis taught at Longfellow Elementary School until her retirement in 1978. For decades Ardie enjoyed seeing her students and their parents around town.  Each of her students was special; her memories of them remained strong and she delighted in learning about their lives and successes.

Her beloved husband, Steve, died in March 1995 and Ardis remained in their home except for short stays in Spring Meadows Assisted Living. In June 2014, following a fall, she moved to Mountain View Healthcare, and to Gallatin Rest Home in November 2016. 

Ardis was preceded in death by her husband, Steve; her parents; two brothers; stepson, Richard Stevens; and his daughter, Mary Stevens.  She is survived by her sister, Marge Arnold; her stepchildren Sharie Shope and David (Nike) Stevens; grandchildren, Heather Stevens (Dan Dofher), Mike (Kristina) Stevens, David Stevens, Rachel Hawkins, Paul Shope, Suzanne Shope, and Steve (Debra) Shope; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ardis was active in Hope Lutheran Church for many years.  She was a member of the Deborah Circle and sang in the Goldtones.   She volunteered at the Museum of the Rockies and was a lifetime member.   She was also a staunch supporter of the Bozeman Symphony. 

Ardis was a warm and gentle presence in our family.   She was happiest when she was making others happy.   She suffered a long, slow decline but even toward the end the sweetness of her character shown through when she would rally herself to listen to our stories, ask us to stay a little longer or thank us for visiting.  She will be missed.

Donations in Ardis’ name can be made to the Hope Lutheran Church, 2152 Graf St., Bozeman, MT  59718.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.  www.dokkennelson.com

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