Ardis Jo Ann (Ness) Achterberg

PORTAGE - Ardis Jo Ann (Ness) Achterberg, age 84, of Portage, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at Meadow View in Baraboo, surrounded by her loving family, after a long goodbye while battling with dementia.

Ardis was a twin - born first - the sixth child of 12 to Thomas and Verna (VonWald) Ness. She attended Lodi schools and graduated in 1956. Her early work included babysitting, detasseling corn, and working at the corner drugstore . It was in Lodi where she met the love of her life, Leon Achterberg. Their first date was dancing at White Lake Beach Resort near Montello.

Leon and Ardis were married on Oct. 3, 1959, at St. Patrick s Catholic Church in Lodi and shared 57 loving years together. After marriage, they moved to Milwaukee where Leon started working for Kohls Foods. Ardis, who was never happy to sit still, enrolled in tech school near their home where she learned keypunching. Upon returning to Madison, she began working for the State of Wisconsin at DILHR, a job she loved and held for 35 years. She retired in 1999.

Ardis was proud of her work, but her family was her priority. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her gentle spirit and love for a simple life were her trademarks. She had a listening ear, a welcoming smile and loved to have fun with her littles whether it was building sandcastles, having special kids day celebrations, dining out at Taco Bell or stopping at Culver’s for ice cream. Her love for children spilled over into her DeForest neighborhood where the kids fondly called her Grandma.” Christmas held a special place in her heart, and she delighted in decorating, baking, and creating family traditions. She had an immense love for the big Ness family gatherings and looked forward to them every year. She enjoyed a special, life-long bond with her twin sister Audrey.

Ardis and Leon loved country music, dancing (boy could they rip up the floor), playing cards, and traveling. They had a deep love for the outdoors whether it was camping, snowmobiling, gardening or simply watching the birds at their birdbath. They were well known for their meticulous gardens and she had a particular fondness for weeding.  They enjoyed their winters in Florida, and loved to spend time at the beach, biking in the park, playing cards (Hand and Foot) and being members of the Midwest Club - she was always proud to sport her Badgers gear. 

Ardis enjoyed ceramics, needlework, quilting, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and collecting angels. In the years following Leon s death, she found comfort in being a coloring book artist – an activity she shared with her great-grandchildren.

Ardis will be dearly missed by her two children, Cindy (Mike) Lardy of Montello and Todd (Lisa) Achterberg of Cape Coral, Florida; and by her five grandchildren, Josh (Amber) Achterberg, Erin Lardy, Henry Austin Lardy, Taylor (Brent) Miller and Kirstin Lardy; and five great-grandchildren, Blake, Brooks, Addison, Brynlee and Beau. She was also survived by three sisters, Darlene Brisky, Donna Ripp, and  Audrey (Dave) Attoe; three brothers, Richard Tack” (Connie) Ness, Charlie Ness, and Don (Jean) Ness; and four sisters-in-law, Alice Ness, Judy Ness, Jo Ann Russell and Nancy Schmidt. She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Joyce Lochner; four brothers, Robert, Thomas, Dale, and Jimmy Ness; sisters-in-law, Eleanor Scheel and Delores Ness; and six brothers-in-law, Ray Lochner, Bob Brisky, George Ripp, Bill Scheel, Alfred Russell, and Willis Schmidt. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. MARY S OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHOLIC CHURCH, 309 W. Cook St., Portage, at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, with Father Savio Yerasani presiding.  A luncheon will immediately follow at Dino’s Restaurant in Portage. A visitation will be held at the church from 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Friday. Entombment will take place at RESURRECTION CEMETERY, 2705 Regent St., Madison, at 10 AM on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

The family would like to thank Meadow View s caring staff and Agrace HospiceCare for their compassionate support.

In lieu of flowers, please consider gifting memorials in Ardis name to Agrace HospiceCare or St. Mary s Catholic Church.

Pflanz Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.