Ardis Emelia Carolina Felland (nee Ryti), age 90, of Napa, CA, formerly of Cokato, Sabeka, and Wadena, passed away Sunday, Sept. 6, 2013, in Napa, CA, after a brief illness.
Graveside services will take place Friday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. at the Riverside Cemetery in French Lake, followed by a reception at The Grounds in Cokato.
Arrangements are by the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato.
Ardis was born May 5, 1923, in Sebeka, to Robert Rudolph and Phoebe Viola Ryti (nee Lantto). She was baptized June 20, 1923, at the First Apostolic Lutheran Church of Cokato by Pastor Adolph North, and later confirmed by the same, June 20, 1937.
In spite of the hardships of the Great Depression, Ardis spent an idyllic childhood and youth in Sebeka and Wadena, surrounded by a large and loving extended family. She loved the long summer days she spent at the home and store of her maternal grandparents, Abraham and Lena Lantto, in French Lake.
At age 4, Ardis decided she wanted to start school, so she walked down to the Sebeka grammar school, lied about her age, and started her education early.
At age 13, she decided she could start driving, so with her father’s consent, she sent away for her driver’s license (no driving test required) and received it, although she was below the Minnesota driving age for automobiles at the time. Even at this young age, she was noted to be an excellent driver; her father would ask her to drive him around the county, and the superintendent of schools would pull her out of class so she could drive him on his rounds of the local schools.
The Ryti family relocated from Sebeka to Wadena in 1939. Ardis, determined to graduate with her friends in Sebeka, boarded with a family friend during her senior year of high school, and graduated with the Sebeka class of 1940.
She went to work at the Wadena County Courthouse, where her father served many consecutive terms as county auditor and treasurer.
Ardis met her future husband, Emerson Dale (“Stomp” or “Whitey”) Felland, in Wadena. They were married Feb. 17, 1943, in Reno. While Stomp worked long shifts at the Mare Island Naval Base in California, Ardis worked as a cashier at the “Rodman Club,” the base commissary store.
After the war, Ardis and Stomp settled briefly in Oroville and Benicia, CA, then moved back to Vallejo, where they lived for another 36 years. While Stomp worked for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company until his retirement, Ardis was a full-time homemaker and mother. Stomp passed away suddenly in 1987.
In 1988, Ardis bought her first house, a shiny, brand new home in Benicia, CA. She downsized to an apartment in Napa, CA, in 2009, in order to be nearer to her beloved sister, Jane Terra. In her last months, she lived at the “Hearts That Matter” care home in Napa, and received hospice care from Napa Valley Hospice.
Ardis is survived by her son, Michael Felland of Potsdam, NY; her daughter, Jane Felland and son-in-law Michael Varon, of Palos Verdes, CA; sisters, Viola Grover of Park Rapids, Jane Terra of Napa, CA, and Carolyn Bloemendaal (Bill) of Great Falls, MT; a brother, Gary Ryti (Myrna) of Bozeman, MT; sister-in law Ruthanne Schroeder (Allen) of Thousand Oaks, CA; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, Ardis was preceded in death by her parents; an infant son, Timothy Felland; and a brother, Roger Ryti.
In Ardis’ memory, donations may be made to the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Cokato, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the church or charity of your choice.