died at noon, Jan. 23, 2013, six years after a stroke had severely impaired her left side. She died at home, with her husband, Gordon, at her side.
Ardella was born on Dec. 5, 1936, in Norwich, Conn., during the Great Depression. She was the youngest of four children. Her father, a veteran of WWI, died of injuries, a few years later. Her mother later married Sherman Daniels, a widower with two young daughters.
Ardelle graduated from high school at Norwich Free Academy and joined the Army
, the following year. After training in classified documents and clerical duties, she was stationed at Fort Ritchie, Md., for work at a secure war office site. There she met and married her husband, Gordon Depue, a military policeman, 56 years ago.
After discharge, they moved to Michigan, where they raised a family of four boys and two girls during the next 18 years. A visit to Fairbanks in 1974, prompted a great adventure. They loaded their six kids and three dogs, formed a three-vehicle caravan and moved to Fairbanks. That adventure only continues today, and memories are available, free.
For the next 31 years, their home at 5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road, was a magnet for teens and any number of other people. Some came to stay a night, a week, a month or more, for various reasons. Ardella, or Skip, as she came to be known by many, was a mother, great hostess and skillful cook and baker. She managed an expanded family, a home and a job during those years.
Everyone helped at home. Meals were often moose, buffalo or game birds. While Gordon was never sure who was in the sleeping bags on the living room floor, the dogs seemed happy for the company.
Ardella worked for Checker Cab as a dispatcher, during the pipeline, and for years, as a receptionist for Dr. Frank Spaulding. She worked for Medical Dental Arts and finally for Cross Town Insurance, with Gordon, and her daughter, Cheryl, until it was sold in 2004.
She was a longtime member of Alaska Women in Mining; she always had an interest in community and state events. She was proud of the fact that she never missed voting in an election; local, state or national, in 36 years.
Her faith in God and Christian principals became a strength that supported everyone in troubled times. There were many successes during her 76 years, but also heartbreak. The loss of three sons and her beloved brother, Bernard Kopf, were proof that life is uncertain.
Ardella was preceded in death by her loving sons, Douglas, Kenneth and Dale; her brothers, Bernard and John; and her sister, Barbara Sadowski.
Ardella is survived by her loving husband of 56 years, Gordon Depue; her brother-in-law, Gary; her children, Nancy, Cheryl, Brian and Sharon; her grandchildren, Dale, Alexandria, Douglas, Michael, Roger, Dustin, Jennifer and Aaron; and three wonderful great-grandchildren.
A gentle woman who sought to make all the lives she touched better because she was there, she will be missed.
Please join the family for a memorial mass at 1 p.m. Saturday Feb.16, 2013, at Immaculate Conception Church, and for a short celebration of her life with the family from 2:30 to 4 p.m., at the Elks Lodge
, on Pioneer Road, following mass.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Immaculate Conception Soup Kitchen and the Monroe Foundation.
Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.