Ardys M. Pfundheller passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Feb. 10 after a life well-lived. She was a calm, quiet and smiling presence until the end.
Ardys was born July 19, 1929 in Stoughton to Theodore and Mabel (Sperloen) Holtan. She grew up with her brother Fritz on a farm in Pleasant Springs, attending country school and later Stoughton High School. They loved spending time at their cabin in Clam Lake and attending family reunions they dubbed the “Holtan Hoopla,” which continued throughout her life.
In 1951, Ardys married Douglas Pfundheller, her high school sweetheart who would become her partner in adventure. They had three children – Marjie, Mark and Karen – and were so proud of their eight grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren (and counting).
Ardys was a member of the second nursing class of Madison General, and went on to a 40-year career as a registered nurse in Stoughton. A working mother before it was commonplace, Ardys led the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and 4-H troops, loved to travel with her family, and was a ready participant in the exploits that Douglas and her kids dreamed up.
A lifelong Stoughton resident, her Norwegian heritage was a hallmark. She was an award-winning artist of Norwegian rosemaling, the President of the Wisconsin Rosemaling Association and one of the founding artists of Madison’s Art Fair on the Square. Ardys was a proud Stoughton Norwegian Dancer parent and grandparent many times over, and she looked forward to making krumkake with her family each Christmas.
Fittingly, Ardys and Douglas were selected as King and Queen of Syttende Mai in 1981. Ardys was the first lady of Stoughton while Douglas was mayor from 1982-1990 and a founding member of Stoughton Lioness.
Ardys enjoyed playing bridge with her friends and poker with her family, watching the Brewers with Douglas over a whiskey sour, and cheering on her grandchildren in sports and the arts. She was the “official lake watcher” of the Friends of Lake Kegonsa and kept a record of her family’s lake activities each year. The faster the pier went into the water, the sooner that “Sundays at the Lake” could begin for the Pfundheller clan each summer.
Her family is heartbroken to not have been able to spend the last year together due to Covid. But even through the glass windows of her nursing home, she maintained her trademark smile and blew kisses to her great grandchildren up until her passing.
She was preceded in death by her husband Douglas, parents Theodore and Mabel, brother Fritz Holtan and other loved ones. She is survived by her children Marjie Hanssen, Mark (Kelli) Pfundheller, Karen Griffin (Greg); grandchildren Kevin (Renee) Stokstad, Brianna (Jeff) Dimond, Lindsey (Jake) Lentz, Theodore (Charity) Hanssen, Michael (Marcy) Berigan, Jamie Redalen, Nicholas (Kate) Pfundheller, Meaghan (Kevin) O’Donnell; and 18 great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held at Cress Funeral Home on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 4-7 p.m. The private memorial service will take place at First Lutheran Church on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Memorials may be made to First Lutheran Church (https://www.flcstoughton.com/flc-fund), Friends of Lake Kegonsa (P.O. Box 173, Stoughton Wisconsin 53589) and Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum (https://vesterheim.org/).
Cress Funeral Service
206 W. Prospect St.
P O Box 231 Stoughton, WI 53589 608-873-9244
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