Ardis Jean Simmons or “A.J.,” the name fondly given to her by youngest son Michael, died on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif. She was 88.
She was born Dec. 14, 1930.
Ardis and her husband Ralph Martin moved to Weaverville in 1950. Ralph and his brothers — Junior and Tom — came to this wooded hamlet to start the Martin Bros. Logging Co. Mothers at the time stayed home with their children, and Ardis was destined for this role. Giving birth to five children in seven years made her a very busy mother. With the support of the women in the neighborhood and so many kids for everyone to play with, life was full and active.
Growing up, Ardis was the only girl in her family. She had three brothers: Vernon, Richard and LeMoyne Meyer. Through the marriages of her brothers, she felt God had blessed her with sisters more wonderful and loving than she could have chosen herself. Her sisters-in-law Lois Meyer, Deannie Meyer, Dorothy Meyer and Vivian Martin were her longest and most valuable friends.
Ardis went through a lot of changes in her mid-40s, including a dissolved marriage with first husband Ralph. In the fall of ‘66, Ardis and her family had the fortune of meeting Gertrude “Gram” Eells. Gram was a special, nurturing person who filled the empty place in each family member’s heart with a grandmother’s love. Gram’s love and friendship helped support Ardis in her newfound independence and give her confidence to move forward. Ardis and her family were blessed with Gram for nine years.
At this time Ardis entered the workforce for the first time. Fortunately, she was hired by the telephone company and became an operator. The job was perfect for her with great hours (4:30 to 10:30 p.m.!) and plenty of good people to work and make friends with. She worked there for around 15 years until the company left Weaverville and gave her an early, great retirement.
During these years Ardis experienced a new independence. With her children grown, life gave her a chance of self-discovery. It was in this period when she met Ken Simmons. Ken embraced her family, and they were happily married until his death in 2011. Ken warmed her heart when he would refer to her as his “beautiful bride.”
Ardis always loved Weaverville, Trinity County, but most of all ... her home. She never grew bored or tired of living there. A short ride around town or in the woods would refresh her joy of knowing she was where she belonged. Like the trees that surrounded her, Ardis became the tree of life that supported the family. Her roots ran deep and the branches of her arms held everyone she loved close but never trapped.
Ardis was the constant for so many, always giving her time to listen and share whenever someone would phone her or come to visit.
Recently, on Oct. 12, her granddaughter Molly and new husband Derek were married. It was a beautiful wedding, a time for the family to gather and celebrate the continuation of life. The day was so special for Ardis, seeing her grandkids and nieces Susan and Morgan.
Always a feminine lady, she enjoyed her bright and colorful dresses and pretty jewelry and had a lovely presence throughout her life.
Ardis joins her mother Sibylla and father Otto Meyer and all departed loved ones in the hereafter. Michael Martin and his wife Tonia also preceded her in death.
She is survived by four children and their spouses: Cynda (Chris) Thompson of Beverly Hills, Calif.; Chuck Martin of Weaverville; Connie (Bob) Billings of Red Bluff, Calif.; and Richard (Debbie) Martin of Weaverville; her beloved grandchildren: Natalie (Ben) Tillery, Felicity (Jon) White, Molly (Derek) Casey, Brian (Amy) Martin, Trever Martin, Lisa (Jon) Airo, Corbin Martin and Chase Martin; Great grandchildren: Elijah Martin, Jaxon Tillery, Ava Tillery, Carson White, Dean White, Jason Airo, Tristan Airo and Braelyn.
Deeply admired and loved, she will be missed by so many.
Our Ardis was never pleased to be rushed. December was the month of her birth and Christmas her favorite time of year. In honor of this, her funeral services will be held in January at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery, where she will join her husband Ken. A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 at the Veterans Memorial Hall, Memorial Drive, Weaverville.
Bye-Bye, Sweet Mother.