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Ardis Evelyn Hewitt


January 2, 2019

Ardis Evelyn Thomsen was born January 31,1927 to Elsie Katherine Hagedorn and Andrew Jeppe Thomsen in Hendricks, Minnesota. She was raised on the family farm near Hendricks MN along with 5 siblings-a brother Leo, and sisters Bernice, LaVonne, Shirley and June.

Ardis grew up an adventurous free spirit. She was a cat with 9 lives and used every one of them in her 91 years. Even at five years old she climbed to the top of their windmill where she sat for some time before being rescued by her irate father. Ardis learned hard work early in life rising every morning at 5AM to milk cows before going to school and then again each evening. She shocked grain at harvest time and was no stranger to the hard work of farming in the 30's and 40's. But she and her siblings always had time for fun. Snaring gophers, riding horses, or thundering around the rough country side in an old Jeep which was supposed to be used only for taking their dairy products to Lake Benton and supplying rides to school for neighboring children who paid for the privilege of riding. She was a straight A student and graduated at the top of her class, at Lake Benton High. Her graduation picture featured Ardis in a neck brace due to a broken neck sustained in a car wreck. The injury plagued her the rest of her life.

After graduation Ardis was anxious to leave the farm and expand her horizons. The year was 1944 and our country was nearing its way to war. She left for Minneapolis with little more than the clothes on her back. But she was sharp in mathematics and had excellent secretarial skills. She quickly found a job at Deere and Weber, an agricultural manufacturing plant. That job; however, was short lived as the U.S entered World War II and the plant was converted to a munitions factory to aid the war effort. Ardis eagerly took an assembly line job welding base plates on large ammunition shells. She was paid by the amount of shells she completed and consequently never made more money in her life.

The day the war ended her job did too, so she returned to Lake Benton and became the secretary for a local doctor. It was during this time she met the love of her life and soulmate forever, Clair "Bud" Hewitt. He was a flight instructor at the local airport and (of course) Ardis wanted to fly. It was like a TV drama-a beautiful adventurous young women and a handsome war pilot. It was love at first sight and lasted 61 years. They were married on April 27,1947 and headed out to California in Bud's plane on their honeymoon. From there on they were always up for an adventure.

They raised 3 daughters Roberta (Bobbie), Merrilyn and Cynthia (Cindy) who were dearly loved and provided for. In 1955 Ardis, Bud and the two oldest girls moved from Minnesota to Harlem, Montana to make a home with Bud's uncle "Beanie" Hewitt. Cindy was born 3 years later, and the family was complete! The girls remember fondly growing up in Harlem and in the center of their lives was their mother. She was responsible for seeing to priorities-faith in God, hard work in school, and a feeling of never being in want. Life was hard work with minimal possessions but was always a joy. Ardis was a fantastic cook (she won the first pie baking contest at the Harlem Seed Show). She had a large garden and kept a neat house. Ardis worked periodically outside the home for the Harlem Laundry & Dry Cleaning, The Harlem News, Gambles Hardware, and selling Avon products. She also kept the books for Bud's electrical contracting business, Hewitt Electric, by painstakingly itemizing every item in her billing process. (No computers-only a typewriter and carbon paper!)

Ardis had grown up around elderly people and always made a place in her heart for them. She made that place for Uncle Beanie and his many old and lonely bachelor friends. It was a rare holiday that the table did not include those who had nowhere to go. The girls too were often sent to the homes of those who had no one else who cared with plates of delicious home cooked meals, birthday cakes, and just house visits as compassion and generosity were traits passed down through the example of their mother.

Ardis and Bud were active members of the American Lutheran Church in Harlem and their family was raised as servants of the living God. In their later years Ardis and Bud's lives where centered around their children and grandchildren. Being the adventurers, they always were, they spent much of their time traveling and expanding their horizons. They are now on the greatest adventure of their lives!

Ardis is survived by her three daughters: Roberta Brekke of Havre, Merrilyn Billmayer of Hogeland and Cynthia (Max) Erickson of Havre; her seven grandchildren: Corey Brekke of Missoula, Adam (Shawna) Billmayer of Hogeland, Natalie (Darrel) Hannum of Havre, Aimee Billmayer Timmons of Hogeland, Andrew Brekke of Havre, Benjamin (Shaye) Erickson of Bozeman and Michael Erickson of Havre; her 11 great-grandchildren and her sister June Remme of Belle Plaine, MN.

Ardis was preceded in death by her husband Clair "Bud" Hewitt in 2008; sons-in-law George "Skrud" Brekke and Allen Billmayer; grandson Tristan Billmayer; and siblings Bernice Lindskog, Leo Thomsen, LaVonne Schwartz and Shirley Shane.

Condolences for the family may be left at

"Memorials can be made to the Turner Booster Club, P.O. Box 104 Hogeland, MT or the American Lutheran Church in Harlem, MT



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