Ardis Helen (Lee) Zunich died peacefully on July 18, 2020, at Canyon Creek Memory Community In Billings, MT, after a prolonged struggle with Lewy Body dementia. She was born to Arthur and Helen (Rice) Lee in Powers Lake, ND, on April 12, 1938, and raised on a farm in rural White Earth, ND. She was the third of four children: Sisters Ellen (Fox), Sandra (Edwards) and late brother Oakley Lee.
Ardis attended elementary school in rural White Earth, ND, and graduated from White Earth High School in 1956. There she met Vernon Zunich who would later become her loving husband of 61 years. She completed her associate’s degree at Augsburg College in Minneapolis where she was active in choir concerts and contests. She returned home to ND and began working at Oilfield Service In Tioga and soon after married Vernon in 1958. They made their first home in the town of White Earth, ND, where she began her career as a wife, homemaker and mother to four children: Kim, Kerry, Julie, and Gentry.
In 1971 they built a home and moved to rural White Earth, which is where they raised their children and lived until 2003. They sold the farm and moved to Minot, ND, where they lived until November 2012. In Minot, they became active members of Bethel Free Lutheran Church. Ardis taught Sunday school, sang in their women’s choir and was a member of the Women’s Mission Federation. They spent their winters at Quail Springs Park in Uvalde, TX. In November 2012 they made their final home in Miles City, MT, until Ardis entered residential care on April 1, 2019, at the Hearts and Home Assisted Living Facility. In Miles City, they were regular attendees of the First United Methodist Church where Ardis sang in the choir and was active in their women’s fellowship activities.
During their time in White Earth, ND, Ardis was an active and devoted farm wife, preparing and delivering meals to the fields and keeping the home fires burning. She loved farm life and worked diligently to keep the lawn and flowerbeds tidy and her home spiffy, making sure Vern and the kids had what they needed. She was a skilled baker, cook, seamstress, and volunteer.
She was an active member of Happy 12 Homemakers Club, Norman Lutheran Church Ladies’ Aid and Women’s Mission Federation, Norman Lutheran Church Sunday School, the Tioga High School Band Boosters and additionally served as a 4-H leader and election judge for the Democratic party.
Her focus was to live by faith in Jesus Christ, her Savior and Redeemer, and lovingly serve her husband, family, and neighbors. Many remember her happy smile and reverent singing with sisters Ellen and Sandi at funerals and weddings. She had a lilting soprano voice and thoroughly enjoyed singing hymns around the house. Ardis loved life; she had a funny sense of humor and would chuckle and shake her head over life’s absurdities.
Ardis took great pride in her grandchildren and great grandchildren, praying for them often. She recorded scripture on note cards as a reminder and encouragement to herself when her memory and organizational skills began to fail.
Ardis was preceded in death by their infant daughter Kerry Lee; parents, Arthur and Helen, and brother Oakley. Ardis is survived by husband Vernon of Miles City, MT; sister Ellen Fox (Lyle, deceased) of Tioga, ND; sister Sandra Edwards (Bruce) of Mandan, ND; children Kimberly and Douglas Blunt of Miles City, MT; Julie and Michael Holub of Saint Clair, MN; Gentry and Kari Zunich of Jamestown, ND; grandchildren Tara Holub Staeheli and husband Dominic Staeheli, Olivia Blunt, Matthew Blunt, Katrina Zunich, Alexandra Zunich, Andrew Holub, Margaret Zunich, Ella Holub, and Geoffrey Zunich; two great grandchildren Maria and AJ Staeheli; and numerous nieces and nephews.
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