American Patriotic 10

William Richard Ardis

April 20, 1940 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

William Ardis Obituary

William Richard Ardis passed away on February 22, 2024 at the age of 83 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Bill, an only child, was born in San Angelo, Texas on April 20, 1940 to William Leon Ardis and Mildred Mathews Ardis.  Both of his parents were educators: his father, a band and orchestra instructor at San Angelo College, and his mother, an elementary school teacher.  Bill’s parents divorced and, in 1952, he and his mother moved to Austin, TX, near his mother’s family.

Bill graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, and attended the University of Texas at Austin where he played varsity tennis, spent his summers teaching junior tennis at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin, and pursued a major in English with a minor in Communications Media.  He left college at the end of his sophomore year to join the Army for a 6-month stint (and an additional five years in the Army Reserve).  He was honorably discharged in 1966.

He returned to college after his active duty and started working in radio, taking a job during his college years at the University radio station, KUTX-FM, as well as a Top Forty station, KNOW, in Austin.  He left before graduating to pursue a disk jockey career.   His first full-time job was in Center, TX at a country music station (where he was known as “Deejay O’Day!”).  In 1963, he moved to Bradenton, FL playing music for an “easy listening” station, WTRl, designed, as he said, to please the Florida audience of mostly retired people.  Within a year, he moved to Rochester, NY.   He is best remembered for hosting his all-night jazz program “Ardis Against the Night” on Rochester, NY-based WHAM, which ran for nearly three years in the 1960’s, and where he became known to music-lovers throughout the eastern and central United States.  He played great music to expose his audience to its power, and showcase new and established talent of all stripes. Bill’s resonant, melodious voice and his ability to connect with his audience had a profound impact on listeners.  Decades later, he continued to receive notes from fans describing the effects his show had on them.   

                                                                                                                                          

He wrote liner notes for Lou Donaldson’s Blowing in the Wind (1966), Elvin Jones’s’ Midnight Walk (1967), Ray Bryant’s Take a Bryant-Step (1967), Gabor Szabo’s Dreams (1968), and Brother Jack McDuff’s Getting Our Thing Together (1968).  In 1969, he left WHAM and found his way to Rochester’s WCMF, then labeled an “underground” radio station, with his program “Ego Trip Underground.”

It was there that he first met Deirdre Maguire, whom he dated in the early 1970’s.  His three marriages to Patricia Goyette (the mother of his only child, Randy Erickson), Charlotte Jennings, and Barbara Becnel all ended in divorce.

He left radio in the 1970’s to pursue a career as a technical writer, working for several companies in California, including Arco, Santa Barbara Research Corporation, Pacific Bell, and AT&T.  Although he left the radio business, he continued a lifelong membership with Toastmasters clubs wherever he lived.

In 2010, he reconnected via LinkedIn with Deirdre.  They spent the last nearly 14 years of his life as loving soulmates.  He called Deirdre the “first love of his life” and said that she had “summoned his latent heart.”

Bill was an enormously talented, witty man who, along with his love of playing and discussing music, cared deeply about his friendships, social justice, the power of women to move the needle in our world, and economic equality.  He was a passionate seeker of a better model of humankind.  A compilation of his creative pursuits towards these ends is found on his website, Ardis in Residence, at https://ardisinresidence.com/.  There, you can still hear his magical, melodious voice.  He wanted a better world for all of us.  His passing creates a hole in our lives.

Bill leaves behind his devoted listeners, his loyal friends, his son, Randy and wife, Linda, his three beloved grandchildren, Parker, Avery, and Eliah, Deirdre, and Deirdre’s son, Miles.

A Celebration of his life will be held at Oakwood Cemetery at 1975 Baird Road in Penfield, NY on Sunday, June 30, 2024 at 2:00 p.m.

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Services

Celebration of Life
Sunday
June 30, 2024

2:00 PM
Oakwood Cemetery
1975 Baird Road
Penfield, NY 14526
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

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