Ardis Elaine KirbyOctober 13, 1922 ~ July 26, 2017 (age 94)
Ardis Elaine Oitto Kirby
October 13, 1922
July 26, 2017
Our wonderful mother, Ardis Elaine Oitto Kirby, passed away July 26, 2017 in Sequim, WA. Ardis was born October 13, 1922 to Richard and Vera Fuller Oitto at Lead, SD. Ardis shared her childhood with a brother and sister in what she described as her beloved Black Hills. She graduated from Lead High School in 1940 as class salutatorian and principle violinist of the school orchestra. She then worked for the Lead National Bank, and she supported WWII efforts as a member of her Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. That summer Ardis met her future husband, Richard C. Kirby, of Rochester, MN; they were married November 27, 1944 at St. Bride’s Church in Chicago, IL. Ardis and Dick lived in Minneapolis, MN, St. Joe, MO, Geneva, Switzerland, and Rockville, MD before settling in Boulder, CO where they lived for nearly twenty years. The family then spent another twenty years living in Switzerland and France while Dick worked for the International Telecommunications Union.
Ardis was a devoted wife, an active homemaker, and a delightful mother of seven children. She encouraged the diverse interests of her children and helped them with music, ballet, swimming, figure skating, and multiple sports teams. She was an excellent seamstress, even designing most of her children’s clothing and later, club uniforms for the Denver Figure Skating Club. She was also a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts. In her personal time; she loved music, enjoyed writing poetry, and was a talented painter and gardener.
In Boulder, Ardis belonged to the Alter and Rosary Society of Sacred Heart Church and School where she was an active volunteer in the parish and the classroom. Ardis also studied creative writing during night school classes at the University of Colorado and was a published author. In Geneva, she remained active supporting her children’s school, volunteering for Caritas, and resuming violin – even beginning a string quartet.
Ardis and Dick traveled the world extensively. Ardis was always an ardent learner, becoming adept at French and even took up a new instrument – the mandolin. She later joined a mandolin orchestra and once performed in Alexandria, VA with two of her children in the audience. Ardis relished walking along trails and beaches, stopping often to admire flowers or rocks, many of which she took home. She appreciated the beauty surrounding her in life and had the good fortune to experience many mountains, oceans and castles. She loved coral and lavender, yellow and turquoise … roses and daffodils … Vivaldi and Celtic Thunder … fossils and poetry … velvet and lace. In later years, Ardis embraced genealogy. She discovered she was a Mayflower descendant, and joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, Dames of the Magna Carta, and other historical societies.
In 1995, Dick retired and they built a home in Sequim big enough for treasured visits of grandchildren. They were members of St. Joseph’s Church. When Dick became ill, Ardis lovingly cared for him at home. They celebrated 67 years of marriage before his passing in 2012. Ardis was preceded in death by her husband, her daughter Eleanor Kirby, her sister Irma Hamilton, and her parents Richard and Vera. She is survived by her brother Richard Oitto (Joan) of Denver, CO, and six children: Richard C Kirby Jr. (Patricia) of Keller, TX; Kate Sullivan (Charles) of Sequim, WA; Elizabeth Kirby (David Granatstein) of Wenatchee, WA; Andrew Kirby (Martha) of Oak Hill, VA; Christine Bourguignon (Philippe) of Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland; and Michael Kirby (Rachel) of Ft. Collins, CO. She was a loving grandmother to 20 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, and dearly loved her many nieces and nephews.
A Rosary will be said for Ardis on Wednesday, August 9 at 10:30 am, followed by a Catholic Funeral mass at 11:00 am, both at St. Joseph’s Church in Sequim. A private interment will be held at Sequim View Cemetery. There will be an open house to honor Ardis at Kate and Chuck Sullivan’s home at 4365 Happy Valley Road between 2:30 and 4:00 pm, August 9.
The family extends a heartfelt thank you to the loving staff at Sherwood Assisted living in Sequim who cared for Ardis as if she were a member of their own family. It was Ardis’s wish that any memorials in her name should be made to the charity of your choice.
Ardis was truly inspiring and compassionate mother and wife and was loved deeply by all her extended family. She made the world a better place. The example she set and the values she shared will endure through her children. As her son Andrew has often said, “If everyone had a mother like ours, there would be no wars.”