Ardis Mary Welch nee Kimler, age 94, passed away April 6, 2020, at the Liberty Village Nursing Home in Peoria, IL.
Ardis was born to Paul "Brownie" and Althea Kimler on December 16, 1926 in Williamsfield, IL. She grew up in Williamsfield and graduated as Salutatorian of the Class of 1944.
In February of 1945 she married John "Jack" Welch of Elmore, IL in a military ceremony in San Angelo, Texas.
Ardis went to work after the war. It was a time when few married women worked and those who did had few options. The glass ceiling wasn't glass then, it was cast iron and very few women got around it. She was a diligent and conscientious worker; she was good with numbers and she enjoyed interacting with people. In many ways she was a trailblazer for the women who would flood into the work force in the late 70s and 80s.
Some of the money she earned went into boats. She and Jack started with an elderly 12-foot wooden runabout. They ended with a 31-foot cabin cruiser. When Jack retired, they took it from St. Paul, MN down the Mississippi through the Tombigbee Waterway to Mobile and around the Gulf to Fort Meyers, FL. There they lived on the boat for a year while they built a new home in Punta Gorda Isles. They were there until Jack's health began to fail and they moved to a condominium. Jack died in 1998 and Ardis returned from Punta Gorda Isles to Illinois in 2015 when her own health began to fail.
Ardis cared deeply for family and friends. She liked music and she loved to dance. She enjoyed being a girl.
She is survived by sons Dana and Jon of Peoria; grandchildren Gail Irish of New Brighton, MN, Anna and husband David Lawrence of Columbia, MO and James and wife Aubrey Welch of Peoria; great grandchildren, Alexis Irish of New Brighton, Abigail and Rebecca Welch of Peoria, Sophia Lawrence of Columbia and great-great grandson, Lincoln Welch of Peoria.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, July 24 at Rux Funeral Home in Williamsfield with Rev. Teri Shane officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Inurnment will follow at Williamsfield Cemetery.
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