Ardis Souhrada, 99, of Spring Valley

Ardis Souhrada, 99, of Spring Valley, died Sunday, July 28, 2019.

Ardis Lucille Mensink was born on Feb. 29, 1920, to Art and Clara (Drury) Mensink. She was the oldest of seven children and was responsible for many family duties.

She attended Prairie Queen Elementary School and graduated from Preston High School in 1938.

In her senior year, she met the love of her life, Emil Souhrada, who was attending normal school. Her aunt and uncle owned the Cherry Grove Grocery store where she was a clerk. Emil, the schoolteacher, seemed to be a frequent customer. She married Emil in June of 1940 at her parents’ home. They had five children, Jerry LeMar (deceased at age 3), Cheryl Ann, Jane Marie (deceased at age 59) Wane O’Dell and Marcia Kay. 

Ardis was given a gift of service. She made this a focus in her life. She touched the lives of many people who had the opportunity to know her. She was an active member of Cherry Grove United Methodist Church and held numerous positions of church leadership. She taught Sunday school and served several years as a state officer of the Minnesota Conference of United Methodist Women. She was awarded Rural United Methodist of the Year award in 1989 for her tireless work advocating for farmers and families during the 1980s farm crisis. She spoke in city churches and ministered with farm families around kitchen tables. A highlight for her was a mission trip to Jamaica to work alongside her husband on Operation Classroom, where they built a classroom and ministered to the children and families in the village. She was also active in a variety of community projects, 4-H clubs and volunteered whenever she could. 

Her rural roots were deep, she had an intense love of the land and a passion for gardening, sewing, quilting and crafting. She found great joy in her children, grandchildren and being known to her great-grandchildren as Grandma Cookie. 

Ardis is survived by her children, Cheryl (Rick) Lamon of Lanesboro, Wane (Kim) Souhrada of LeRoy and Marcia (Tom) Nagel of LeRoy; seven grandchildren, Colleen Lamon, Kelly Lamon, Molly Lamon, Kelby Souhrada, Jonathan Souhrada, Suzanne Nagel and Justin Nagel. She was also blessed with 23 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by one sister, Deloris Nagel, and a brother, Curtis (Trudy) Mensink and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Preceding Ardis in death is her husband Emil; a son, Jerry; daughter, Jane; brothers, Kenneth Mensink, Arlyn Mensink and John Mensink; a brother-in-law, Newton Nagel; sister-in-law, Evelyn Mensink; a niece and several nephews.

A visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at Cherry Grove Methodist Church in Cherry Grove. Burial will be in the Cherry Grove Cemetery at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, with funeral services to follow at 11 a.m., at Stewartville United Methodist Church.