Ardis Dennis Hojem
August 31, 2021
Olympia, Washington – Ardis Bernelda (Busek) Dennis née Hojem, RN, returned home to this “Great Dispensary in Heaven” on August 31, 2021 in Kona-Kailua, HI, after reaching the ripe old age of 99 and half. When she was admitted to the hospital a few days earlier for what was to be her last illness, she characteristically insisted, “No Code Blue!”
“The Dreamer dies, but the Dream never dies!”
Ardis was born on the family farm about a mile and a half outside Deering, North Dakota, at 9:30 p.m. on the dark, rainy night of March 16, 1922 – though she publicly chose to still celebrate her birthday in great pump a day. later on St. Patrick’s Day, when she regularly dyed a section of her hair green, to the delight of family and friends.
Ardis was the fourth child of Gustav Adolph “Pinkie” Hojem and his wife Christiana Frederika “Rekka” Hojem née Jensen. She was of pure Norwegian descent on the paternal side and pure Danish descent on the maternal side. She was predeceased by her parents, her three older brothers (John – deceased in childhood – Dale and Glenn) and a younger brother (Lyle).
Ardis grew up in Olympia, WA, and graduated in 1940 from William Winlock High School. At 19, she left home and began a three-year training course at St. Joseph’s Hospital Nursing School in Tacoma, from which she graduated on January 19, 1944.
From January 1944 to September 1944, Ardis worked at the Kaiser Shipyard Hospital in Vancouver, WA as an assistant supervisor of gynecology and obstetrics, giving medication and treatment and helping in the delivery room and nursery.
Ardis was then selected to return to the East and work as a nurse at the NY State Psychiatric Institute, Medical Center, from September 1944 to February 1945, where she attended shock therapy and took courses in deviant psychology.
Moved by an enthusiastic recruiting speech, she volunteered for the ASF Army Nursing Corps on February 1, 1945 and was appointed second lieutenant. She completed a four-week basic training at Fort Dix, becoming intimately familiar with the frozen cranberry bogs of New Jersey. She has taken courses in service and clinic management, first aid, military organization, communicable diseases, malaria, chemical warfare, map reading, exercises and physical training.
Tall Scandinavian, with skinny feet and broad shoulders, Ardis did not fit easily into the standard uniform, and the high-top chicken coop boots the recruits had received turned out to be unusable for her. Luckily, custom-made narrow A quadruple shoes were finally purchased.
Prior to overseas, Ardis was temporarily assigned to the Bronx Area Station Hospital at the corner of 173rd St. and the Grand Concourse in New York.
In May 1945, she boarded the SS Île de France, a luxury liner transformed into a personnel carrier, and crossed the Atlantic in a convoy, where German submarine “wolf packs” still roamed. The ship docked in Guroc, Scotland on Victory Day (May 8).
Soon after, American military hospitals in England began to shut down and return the injured to the United States. To avoid being relegated to the Home Zone, Ardis boldly transferred to a post in occupied Germany.
After receiving additional special training, Ardis snuck into a bucket seat and was airlifted to the mainland. As a lone passenger, with a gas mask strapped to her body and dragging a footed locker and a bed behind her, she suffered a bumpy midnight landing on an unlit Berlin airfield. Assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, she had many exciting experiences as a member of the occupying forces and as a cleaning nurse at the 279th Station Hospital. She accumulated twelve months of overseas service and was separated on May 26, 1946.
DECORATIONS AND QUOTES: Middle East and European Africa Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal.
At the end of her period of service in Europe, Ardis returned to the Olympic Peninsula and to civilian life, where she met Frank W. Busek of Chehalis, who had served as a captain in the Army Air Corps, flying men and “Over the Hump” material between India and China. They were married on May 10, 1947 in Olympia. The marriage produced seven children: a daughter, Dena, and six sons: “Big Al” (who predeceased her), JB, G.-H., Andy, Alex and Adam. Frank resumed his military career, so the family moved frequently between various military installations around the world, including Turkey, Arizona, Texas, Oahu and Georgia. When Frank retired in 1967, the family moved to northern California.
With her youngest in school, Ardis returned to nursing, working in various wards and intensive care units, and was eventually sworn in as Deputy Sheriff of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, in charge of the prison dispensary. She also began to dabble in real estate, for which she showed a real keen sense. Ardis fell in love with the blazing beauty of the Redwood Empire, the wine country and most importantly the Valley of the Moon, and with wise investments she was able to fulfill her dream of owning a part of it.
Frank and Ardis divorced in 1973, after which she married Roger L. Dennis. His enthusiasm for learning had no limits. In the 1970s and 1980s, she took numerous college-level courses in anthropology, economics, foreign languages, etc. – for pleasure. Roger died in 1995. Soon after, she moved to the Big Island, settling in the Puna district. There she opened a workshop and created many works of art in the medium of lead glass.
Ardis was a voracious reader, loved Scrabble and crosswords, was fond of the poets Robert Service and Edmund Vance Cooke, and also wrote verses for her own amusement.
“But is that really all there is?”
Does humor play a role?
Are love and joke and beer and folk
Just someone’s hyperbole? ”
She was a prolific correspondent, coming out of long missives casually littered with an eclectic mix of weird Latin phrases and medical symbols, as well as bits of German slang and kitchen Turkish, depending on her needs.
Ardis did not willingly endure fools. She could be quite clinical in her assessment of others, but was also very aware of her own personal shortcomings. She was recognized as a tall loveseat with a quick wit and cosmopolitan Weltanschauung, a “great old lady who passed the marks on appearance, brain and muscle,” as one daughter-in-law proudly described her.
Healer, warrior, mother, investor, writer, letter writer, craftsman – Ardis has done it all.
Ardis is survived by six of his seven children, twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren; one son-in-law and many daughters-in-law; a plethora of nieces and nephews, mostly in Washington state.
In accordance with his expressed wishes, no funeral or memorial service will be held.
Güle-güle, Aloha, and Auf Wiedersehen, Ardis!
Friends and relatives wishing to contact the bereaved are invited to address their letters to Alexander F. BUSEK, Dettenhausen, Germany.
Posted by The Olympian on September 19, 2021.