Ardel Louise (Noth) Pelton, 88, of Reedsburg, passed away in her sleep on July 13, 2020, at Casa de Oakes’ Memory Care unit in Reedsburg, where she had been a resident for four months. She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, James Pelton, and her daughter Nan (Greg) Pelton Schmieder.
She was born on a dairy farm near Norwalk, WI, the eldest child of Alvin and Gladys (Purdy) Noth. In 1945 the family moved to Reedsburg and she graduated from Reedsburg High School. In 1950 she was a finalist in Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland pageant.
Music and music-making were constants in her life. Her father bought her a violin and she remarked many times on how fortunate she was to move to a school district that had a student orchestra. As a teenager she won a scholarship to Lawrence College’s Conservatory of Music. She left Lawrence to marry and become a loving wife, mother and homemaker on the family farm. She sang in and directed the United Methodist Church choirs and played violin solos there for decades. She joined area string ensembles and Reedsburg’s community orchestra to play for Webb High School musicals. In retirement she began to play violin with her friend Joan Wilcox, who played the Irish harp. The duo entertained at nursing homes, weddings and other events for 20 years. At the end of her life, when her memory was considerably diminished, she still loved to sing, remembering the lyrics to hundreds of songs and even singing the alto or tenor line in harmony.
She was a longtime member of United Methodist Church service committees and the Del Aire Homemakers group. She was also a leader in the Dellona Friendship 4-H Club, where she taught many members to knit. In retirement she volunteered at the Reedsburg Area Medical Center and the Food Pantry. She loved to read and joined a local spiritual reading group that met for over a decade. Spending time with her sisters-in-law was a longtime pleasure and their “kaffe klatches” while darning socks or shucking peas were a weekly tradition. She was a cheerful person whose lovely smile was a gift to those who knew her, and she had a lifelong curiosity for learning. She was known as a conscientious worker who jumped in to help and encourage friends and family whenever she could.
Sewing was another constant in her life. She knitted, quilted, embroidered, cross-stitched and made almost all of the clothing for her family. When her daughter became a professional musician she made many of Carmen’s concert gowns. In 1987 she became a small business owner by setting up shop at the Viking Laundromat to do alterations onsite. She was the tailor for several clothing and formal wear shops in town and continued to sew at home long after she closed her shop. One of her last projects was making baby quilts to be given to new mothers when leaving the hospital.
Ardel and Jim enjoyed dancing and joined the Loganville Promenaders square dance club as newlyweds. In retirement they attended many local swing dances, especially those held at the pavilion in Devil’s Lake State Park.
She is survived by three of her children and their families, Carmen Pelton; Mark (Shaun) Pelton and their sons, Lucas (Katie) Pelton and Cody (Amy) Pelton; Lynn Pelton and her three children, Dana Winker, James Winker and Karen (Lance) Crowder; her brothers Myron (Judy) Noth and Theron (Fern) Noth, and ten great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Reedsburg's CAL Center, whose mission is to enrich, inspire, and educate the community through the arts (Reedsburg Education Foundation-CAL Center Fund, c/o Barb Sand, 501 K Street, Reedsburg, WI, 53959) or to the Reedsburg Music Boosters (Reedsburg Music Boosters, E7016 E. Reedsburg Road) would be appreciated.
No funeral will be held but the family will gather with friends next spring at the family farm to celebrate Ardel’s and Jim’s lives. Farber Funeral Home is serving the family.
To send flowers to Ardel's family, please visit our floral store.