AKKERMAN INGEBRAND FUNERAL HOME – MORA
Ardis Gotschall, of North Branch, formerly of Mora, passed away on Monday, November 20, 2017 at Ecumen in North Branch. She was 91 years old.
FUNERAL SERVICE will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at the Mora United Methodist Church with Rev. Debra Schaffran officiating.
VISITATION will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm on Friday, November 24, 2017 at the funeral home, as well as 1 hour prior to the service on Saturday.
INTERMENT will be at West Union Cemetery.
(Elva) Ardis Gotschall, of Mora, Minnesota, passed away Monday, November 20, 2017 at Ecumen Care Center in North Branch, with her family by her side. She was 91 years old.
Ardis was born February 27, 1926 in Kenmare, North Dakota. She was adopted by Ethel Faith (Gross) Nelson and Nicoly Oscar Nelson, directly from the hospital, at just three days old. They felt so fortunate to have her. She was loved well by her parents and brother, Neland, who doted on her. Ardis spent her first years in North Dakota. Then, during the Great Depression, the Nelsons moved to her mother’s family farm in West Union, MN. When thinking of her childhood home, this was the place that came to mind. Just down the road, she attended Country School for grammar school and delighted in telling stories of childhood antics at school. For high school, she attended the West Central School of Agriculture (“Ag School,” she called it) in Morris, MN. It was there she studied typical subjects, learned life skills and gained some independence. With a glimmer in her eye, she’d recount stories of getting ready to go on dates (sometimes with “town boys”) and how her friends would pool their best scarves, sweaters, etc. to make sure the girl with the date had on the finest they had.
She graduated in 1943 and moved to Bremerton Washington, where at 18, she met and married her first husband, Robert John Hertz. Together, they had four children 1945-1953 – Bobby, Steven, David and Kit. In 1959, Ardis would bring her children back to the family farm in West Union Township to raise them. During these years, she worked hard helping her family with farming and housework, as well caring for her kids. To her, being a mom was the most important role she could take on.
Ardis would find her forever love the summer of 1964, when she met Rev. Thomas Austin Gotschall. They married October 12, 1964 and blended their families together. Tom had 3 adult children (Marilyn, William and Robert) by his first wife, whom he lost in a car accident. Unfortunately, both had known tragedy as Ardis lost her two eldest teenaged boys in separate accidents, Bobby before marrying Tom and Steven just 6 weeks after their wedding. She mourned their losses for the rest of her life, never forgetting what special young men they were.
Before they married, Tom’s daughter made it clear to Ardis that if she wanted to marry her dad, she better be prepared to be a grandma immediately, as her kids needed one. This was a condition Ardis readily accepted, as she found grandchildren and great grandchildren the very best gifts she could be given. Since Ardis and Tom both loved kids, they decided to have two more together. Nancy and Deanna, “the girls,” as they were typically called came along in 1966 and 1968.
Being married to Tom also came with the additional role of Minister’s Wife. Ardis happily took this on, always throwing her full support behind her husband. Her church and her steadfast faith were already extremely important to her. Her faith only deepened over time. For the rest of her life, she was actively engaged in church activities, functions, and United Methodist Women – often as the UMW President for her church. At the time, Methodist Ministers were transferred to new charges every few years, so the family lived in Long Prairie, Appleton, St. Paul and then, Mora, Minnesota, where Tom retired and they settled permanently. Part of Tom’s job included doing an outreach and he was charged with starting up a Junior Camp program for kids. Ardis became an integral part of Camp too, fulfilling the roles of Counselor, Craft Director, and most importantly, Camp Grandma. Her regular participation in Camp continued well past Tom’s lifespan. It was natural she’d love it so much, since Ardis’ daughter Kit’s attendance at Jr. Camp was what brought Ardis and Tom together in the first place.
In the late ’60s she also began working outside the home, but took on flexible work, to make sure her family responsibilities were always met. She sold Fire Alarms by phone in the evening, while in St. Paul. In the early ’70s she started selling Tupperware through home parties and caught the “sales bug.” After moving to Mora in 1973, she continued with Tupperware, but then found her passion selling Avon door-to-door. Being a hardworking, competitive person, she strived for top sales numbers and usually achieved her goals. Most every year of her 30+ year Avon career she was a President’s Club Member, an honor reserved only for the best of the best. She was always proud to be known as “the Avon Lady” by many. She set quite an example for her children, as they could see through her that hard work and perseverance was what it took to succeed. As a result, this is a trait that’s been handed down to her kids, grandkids and even great grandkids. She taught us all how to access our inner strength and overcome adversity.
She lost Tom nearly 25 years ago, December 9, 1992. It wasn’t easy to recapture her zest for life at first. But, she forged ahead, creating a new life for herself where she enjoyed going on many trips, seeing musicals, spending time with friends and especially, her family. Now, she has rejoined Tom, just before his Nov. 26th birthday.
When most think of Ardis, her graciousness and open, loving heart are what first come to mind. All who crossed her threshold were automatically made family and would be cared for. In her lifetime, this created many “families” for her, some by blood and many by choice, each one extremely important to her in its own way. As a result, Ardis enjoyed many rich and enduring friendships she cherished deeply. Young or aged, new acquaintance or life-long confidant, she always made each person feel welcomed and special. Her absence will be deeply felt by all who knew and loved her.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Tom, sons Bobby and Steven, parents, brother Neland, foster sister Lela, grandparents and many aunts and uncles.
Ardis is survived by children David Hertz (Kathie), Kit Clasen, Nancy Rastall (Wade), Deanna Gotschall Gorsegner (Bryan), Marilyn Mutchler, William Gotschall (Judy), Bob Gotschall, 18 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren, other relatives and many friends.