Last Thursday, Ardyce danced out of our lives and on to her next adventure. She was surrounded by her loving family during the last days, and would still periodically tap her feet under the sheets to the music playing in her room.
Ardyce was born and grew up in Holyoke, Colo., where she was a state champion in tennis, played the piano for programs, played the flute in the band, and was the band major. She then attended Colorado State College of Education (now University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley, Colo., where she majored in physical education and minored in music.
She continued competing in tennis and baton twirling with the band, and also played basketball. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1943. Ardyce planned to teach eventually, but these were wartimes – she had lost a cousin on the USS Arizona, her brother was enlisted – and she felt a calling to actively support the war effort and her country.
She traveled to Seattle, Wash., to be trained at Boeing, where she worked with engineers to carefully draw manufacturing plans for aircraft so “Rosie” would know where to rivet. Her project was the B-17, or “Flying Fortress.” While in Seattle, she also tap danced in the “USO shows,” entertainment provided by the United Service Organization to troops during WWII.
After the war ended, Ardyce took a teaching job in Hood River, Ore., where she met and married Robert W. Edling, a member of the Army Air Corp. The couple had their first two children, Tyrell and Shelley, before purchasing acreage west of The Dalles, where they built Chenoweth Airpark, a private airport. Now settled at Chenoweth, a third child, Michelle, was born, completing the Edling family.
Ardyce learned to fly, earned her pilot’s license, and was a member of the 99ers, a women’s flying group. She was very active in her community and played basketball on a community team called the “Crazy Little Mammas” in the early years of her marriage.
She rode Arabian horses and also bred, trained, and showed German Shepherd dogs. Always eager to learn, and ready to take on a new project, Ardyce enjoyed calligraphy, leather tooling, needlework, archery, bowling, basket weaving, gardening, and many other activities.
She led a 4-H dog club for 15 years, before handing the leadership off to her daughter, Michelle, and another club member.
Despite her many accomplishments, Ardyce was a modest woman; however, she had a reputation as a sharpshooter and a daring aviatrix (following a flawless crash-landing after an engine failure).
After her husband’s death in 1968 in an aviation accident, Ardyce continued to live on the airport and she returned to teaching. Ardyce taught PE and coached all the girls’ sports, and assisted with the boys’ sports, at Chenoweth Middle School. On evenings, weekends, and in the summer, she worked on her Master’s Degree at Oregon State University, which she earned in 1970. She then became a guidance counselor at Wahtonka High School until her retirement in 1986.
After retirement, Ardyce was active at The Mid-Columbia Senior Center, where she helped seniors with their taxes and taught hula, clog, and tap dance for many years. In her later years she also was active with a bridge group, served as a docent at St. Peter’s museum, and learned Reiki. Already skilled in training and showing her dogs in AKC obedience, she also learned and competed in rally obedience, and taught her dogs dancing and trick skills, and performed with them in the community. At one point, she obtained therapy dog status for her dog so they could bring smiles and comfort to those in hospitals and nursing facilities. She continued to serve as a judge and mentor in the dog 4-H program into her 80’s.
Ardyce’s love for her horses and dogs, and general enthusiasm for life, was the start of several family legacies. Today, all of Ardyce’s children and grandchildren continue to participate in training and competing with their canine companions. Her daughter, Michelle, is a professional handler and recognized AKC Breeder of the Year; and one of her granddaughters has carried on the 4-H tradition and led a dog training club for 10 years, which Ardyce’s great-granddaughters participate in. Her son, Ty, has been a commercial pilot and mechanic for over 40 years, and manages Chenoweth Airpark.
Ardyce’s daughter, Shelley, and her family continue to share Ardyce’s interest in horses and have fulfilled Ardyce’s aspiration of training and showing their own horses.
Ardyce was preceded in death by her parents, George and Ka-aw Zeiler of Holyoke, Colo.; her husband, Robert; brother, Ward Zeiler of The Dalles; and sister, Stacia Zeiler Johnson of Salem.
She is survived by her children: Tyrell Edling, Shelley Edling Bullard, and Michelle Edling; her son-in-law Robert Bullard; granddaughters, Emilie Edling Bullard and Melissa Bullard; great-granddaughters, Delaney Riggins-Bullard and Morgandy Riggins-Bullard; and sister, Urchyl Zeiler Bohard.
During her 96 years, Ardyce touched many lives. No services will be held, although a celebration of life will be planned for a later date. A memorial website was set up for your remembrances of this wonderful lady, available at www.Never-Gone.com /Memorials/Ardyce. Her granddaughters are collecting information on her life to create a memorial book, and would love to hear from you.
Donations in Ardyce’s memory may be sent to the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, 1112 W 9th, The Dalles, Ore., 97058. The family also suggests donations in Ardyce’s memory and personal remembrances be sent, in care of Emilie Edling, to the Paw Power 4-H Club at 20576 SW Lebeau Rd., Sherwood, Ore., 97140. Both the Senior Center and 4-H Club are 501(c)(3) organizations.
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