Dec. 7, 1920 - April 21, 2012
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Ardis Elizabeth Hinshaw passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at the Thayer County Hospital in Hebron, Nebraska, at the age of 91.
She was born in her parents' home on Dec.7, 1920, at McCook, Nebraska. She was the daughter of the late Carl and Elizabeth (Elfert) Schmitz. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was an engineer for the railroad. Ardis grew up in McCook and graduated from St. Patrick's Elementary School, and from McCook High School in 1938. She received an associate degree from McCook Jr. College. During her school years, she sang in choir, sang solos and participated in cheerleading and school plays. She took voice lessons in Denver, Colorado, and it was there she was introduced to the opera. Ardis auditioned and was accepted for the opera "Carmen" with the Denver Grand Opera Co. She traveled 526 miles each week to sing in the opera. She enrolled at the University of Denver, where her musical career began. She auditioned for the Central City Opera Company and was one of 40 accepted out of 400 who auditioned. She performed in "The Barber Of Seville" and sang in "Orpheus" on alternating nights. The following summer, she received a musical role in "The Merry Widow" and was in 14 more operas over the next few years. While at the University of Denver, she was a member of the Theta Phi Alpha Catholic Sorority and served as vice president, national historian, social chairman and coed journalist. She sang with the Denver University Haymakers and the El Jebel Shrine Band, entertaining soldiers at the various camps around Colorado. She graduated from the University of Denver in 1944 with a B.A. degree in Social Sciences and obtained a job doing claims for the Social Security Board.
Ardis often came back to McCook on weekends. It was here she reunited with an old family friend, Bob Hinshaw, whom she married in 1946. He died at an early age. Four children were born to this union: Robert Jr., Kathleen Ardis, Anne Elizabeth and Harry Cecil.
In 1957, Ardis returned to McCook with her children and went to work at St. Catherine's Hospital, transcribing dictations from 10 doctors and helped code and index disease as well as operate the switchboard. She purchased a home at 812 East 3rd in McCook. Ardis decided teaching would be her best career choice so she returned to summer school at Kearney State College, earning a second teaching certificate while teaching second grade at North Ward Elementary. She earned a masters degree in 1964 in guidance and psychology. She then transferred to McCook Senior High School as guidance counselor and psychology instructor. Her children graduated from MHS. During her tenure, she served as senior class sponsor for 14 years and was a member of the McCook Education Association and Nebraska State Teachers Association.
She continued to sing in church choir for weddings and funerals and was also a soloist in Handel's Messiah and "Seven Last Words of Christ" in the Curtis Easter Nebraska Pageant. She sang until she was in her seventies. Her greatest reward was helping young students in their educational and vocational choices and peer problems for 28 years. She retired from teaching in 1986 when she was 65 years old. Her children all became teachers with B.A. and Master degrees. She joined the McCook Area Retired Teachers Association in 1986, serving as vice president, one term, president, three terms and treasurer, four terms.
Ardis was preceded in death by her brother, Carl Cecil Schmitz, daughter, Kathleen Ardis, her son, Robert Jr., and twin granddaughters, Mary Christine and Teresa Marie Hinshaw.
Ardis is survived by one son, H. Cecil Hinhaw and wife, Carol of Omaha, Nebraska; one daughter, Anne Bowman and husband, Bill of Bruning, Nebraska; six grandchildren, Brandon Hinshaw, Laurie (Jared) Pehrson, Jenna Bowman, Kelli Hinshaw, Jacob (Elizabeth) Hinshaw, Whitney Hinshaw; six great-grandchildren, Connor Hinshaw; Halley Dedlow, Ethan, Aubrie, Alexis, and Nolan Pehrson; one sister, Ava Shields of Arnold Maryland, plus many relatives and friends.
Rosary will be today at 7 p.m., at Herrmann Memorial Chapel in McCook. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in McCook with Father Gary Brethour officiating. Internment will be in Calvary Cemetery in McCook. Visitation will be on Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Memorials may be given in her name and left at the funeral home.
Herrmann Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.