Remembering Ardis

It’s been a few weeks since Ardis passed away. I wanted to share the article I wrote about Ardis in the June 16 Choir Newsletter as it has been requested by a few folks recently.

Ardis Tracy. Wow. What a lady. Her beliefs were evident. Her obstacles in life were enormous. Her resolve and determination were still there. Most people in her position wouldn’t fathom being part of a huge, stress-inducing Easter musical, but she hung in there. She fought along the way and she made it through.
My first memory of Ardis that comes to mind now was during my “interview” Sunday. It didn’t take long for her to make an impression on me. I remember sitting in service, everyone listening to Pastor, and she nonchalantly gets up, walks out through the choir door, gets this huge folder of music, brings it to me, and proceeds to try to have a conversation about why she wants me to have the book (yes, in the middle of service!). Apparently she already knew that I was the next worship pastor, even though that hadn’t been officially determined yet. She always put it “out there,” didn’t she?
Not to stop there, she lent us SO MUCH STUFF. In fact, we have at our house an Ardis box of stuff which we will need to decide what to do with now. Most of it is old choir music copies, CDs, a book or two, and some miscellaneous letters. Not valuable to anyone in terms of material, but it was her effort to see that I had an easier time of things by seeing what previous worship pastors did and giving me ideas that might work and some that absolutely would not work.
In particular, she did give us some great ideas during the Easter play. She was the one who showed us Nathan’s draw-up of how the choir was arranged into smaller sections that were mobile during the Easter play, giving the traditionally static choir a sense of fluidity and flexibility.
That was Ardis who showed us that. As you know, Sarah and I obviously went with that idea. Ardis was a packrat in keeping every single letter, paper, CD, and piece of music that had ever been passed out. She of course added her notes to it, all over it, etc….scripture verses, notes about pastoral staff, personal encouragements, etc.
I couldn’t possibly put myself in the position she was in. In my own frame of mind, going through life on a day-to-day basis can be frustrating, overwhelming, and challenging. Physically and mentally, I have no issues that would make that worse. Ardis was in a place I couldn’t imagine being in. And yet, we are able to remember some key personality characteristics about her:
-A big heart and a huge smile. That was one big-hearted lady. She gave me all that stuff because she wanted to help me and assist me.
-Never met a stranger. She personally invited and gave out more tickets than any other single person in our church, and was directly responsible for at least a dozen or two visitors to our passion play.
-Enthusiasm. She had one of (if not “the”) liveliest face, most exaggerated motions, and most engaging stage presence of anyone on the stage.
-Sang for the Lord. It didn’t matter to her what her personal singing ability was. She sang for the Lord, and she wanted as many people to know it as possible. It wasn’t in a boastful way. She truly wanted to lead people in worship by having them hear her worship. That lady was a magnet to microphones!
Great memories. We’ll miss her. We could never replace her. I think we can all think about the way Ardis was and take a lesson. It’s ok to be emotional in our praise. Look at what God did for us! It’s ok for us to engage our world. It’s ok for us to have a big heart for the needs of others. I am thankful for the great lessons and the reminders I learned from Ardis Tracy in the short time I knew her. We’ll see her soon!

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5 thoughts on “Remembering Ardis

  1. Kathy Ellis says:

    Thanks, Harvey, for posting this article; it is so true of everything you said about Ardis. She will be missed by me in that she always had something good to say to me.

  2. Aldona Dement says:

    Thank you so very much Harvey! Hi I am Ardis’ baby sister Aldona (The Princess) and I cannot express to you how much you have touched my heart for remembering Ardis in this way. She is truely missed by our family, and it breaks my heart that she is gone. I know that she is in heaven (and more than likely giving God suggestions too, or the Angels who worship our Father and His Son Jesus 24/7!) I can only imagine how happy she is right now, and know that she is finally at peace and rests in the shadow of His wings.
    With Love and Appreciation,
    Aldona Dament

  3. Scott Gabriel says:

    Thank you so much for posting this in your blog. I met Ardis and her sister Alein while serving in the Air Force in Texas. They actually stayed with us for a while. We were all young and it was about that time that we started serving the Lord. I am very happy to hear she remained active in that service. God Bless you and your family.

    Scott Gabriel

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