(3-19-13) Ardalene J. "Ardie' Klessig, age 97, of Black River Falls, passed away on March 19, 2013 at the Family Heritage Care Center in Black River Falls.
Ardalene was the eldest of two beautiful daughters born to Herbert Arndt, and his wife, the former Mable Olson. She arrived on October 12, 1915 in Winona, MN. and grew up in Winona and Black River Falls. Ardie graduated at the young age of 16 from the Black River Falls High School in 1931. She worked in downtown Black River Falls and married Giles Rickard of Merrillan. After he graduated from the Mortuary Science Department at the University of Minnesota, she assisted him in the operation of their funeral businesses in Merrillan, Alma Center and Fairchild, WI. As a hard- working and bright woman, she ran the hotel while raising their 4-children, Jean Sherry, Jimmy, and Mary. In 1960, she married Arvel "Arv" Klessig and moved to Fairmont, Minnesota where her youngest daughter, Mary, graduated from high school. She was a woman ahead of her time. She worked in management at the 3M Company in St. Paul and then in Fairmont. She and Arv loved to golf and entertain family and friends. She graciously served as the president of the Fairmont Hospital Auxillary. Being a natural at gathering everyone together for a great time, this time with a purpose, Ardie chaired the biggest charity event ever held to this point in Fairmont. Gathering her friends together as a committee, she put on a formal Gala Ball with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. They raised a large amount of money for the hospital. Ardie lived a long and full life. She loved spending time with her family and traveling. Her international adventures took her to exotic places like Cuba, Fiji, Panama, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. She sailed with friends on a private yacht visiting the Islands of the Caribbean, and toured Italy, Alaska, and Hawaiii. In her later years, she took a River Cruise with her daughter Sharon through Switzerland and France. One of her favorite times was their annual fishing trip with close friends into the wilds of Canada. She and Arv were "Snow Birds" and wintered in Fort Myers and later on Sanibel island, Florida. After retirement, they lived the rest of the year in Merrillan, moving to Wisconsin to be closer with family. They built a home on the golf course in Black River Falls and maintained a wide circle of friends and were very active in the Skyline Golf Club. She was also an avid reader and painted beautiful ceramic pieces that are treasured by her family. Surviving are her children, Jean (Jack) Louis, Jim (Ramona) Rickard, and Mary Williams, all of Black River, Sharon (Jim) Calvano, New Jersey and Sanibel Island Florida. Her sister, Betty Peterson, St. Paul, MN.,grandchildren, Kathleen (Tom) Peller, Eau Claire, WI., John (Barbara) Louis, Black River Falls, Michael (Joanne) Louis, Austin, TX., Anne (Kent) Gable, Atlanta, GA., Christine Martinez, Pasadena, CA., James B. (Mary) Calvano, Franklin Lakes, NJ., John (Sylvia) Calvano, Birmingham, AL., Marc (Debbie) Calvano, Williamstown, PA., Michael (Sandra) Calvano, Forty Myers, FL., Anita (Cesar) Rios, Centerville, MN., Suzanne (Craig) Nelson, Elk River, MN., J. D. (Kelly) Rickard, Edina, MN., Jennifer (Joseph) Lorenzo, Oldsmar, Fl., Amy (Dan) Monaghan, Coon Rapids, MN., David (J-Lee) Williams, Carlsbad, CA., many great grandchildren, and one great, great grandchild, several nieces and nephews, including Barbara (Paul) Hanson, Black River Falls, and Brenda (Ronald) Hanson, Hatfield, Wi. She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Mable Arndt, and husbands Giles Rickard and Arvel Klessig. Memorial graveside services will be held at 11 A.M. Saturday, May 25, 2013 at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls. Her son, Reverend James H. Rickard will conduct services. Torgerson's Funeral Home of Black River Falls is assisting the family with arrangements.Memorials, in Ardie Klessig's, name may be given to either the Boys and Girls Club, 125 Fillmore, St., Black River Falls, or to the Skyline Golf course, 612 N. 11th St., Black River Falls. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the wonderful staff at The Pine View Terrace, Parkside Residence, and the Family Heritage Care Center, and also to Dr. Jerry Kitowski, and his nurse, Judy, for their loving care of their beloved mother.