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Ardis Joy Jones-Fernandez
August 8, 1933 ~ October 10, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Ardis “Ardy” Joy Jones-Fernandez, age 90, of Lebanon Twp., NJ passed away on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at home.
She was born on August 8, 1933 in Malone, NY where she grew up and worked her family dairy and potato farm through the years during World War II which had a tremendous impact on her life. She was the daughter of the late Herbert and Marion Hurlbert Joy. She had one younger sister, Eunice Joy Paumier who predeceased her.
She left Malone, NY in 1951 to attend SUNY Cortland and completed a degree in Physical Education. She competed on the downhill and alpine college ski team as one of the few women on the team. Her first teaching job was in Scarsdale, NY and she remained in that area where she met and married her first husband, Richard “Dick” Jones, also a physical education teacher. They both attended night school at NYU to complete their Master’s degree in education. They purchased a home in Long Island, NY where they continued to develop their careers in education and their 2 children, Christopher and Leslie were born and attended school there until 1970.
Ardis became the first woman to be promoted to a Department Chair position in her school system in the 1960’s. Ardy and Dick ran camping and education programs for underprivileged youth during their time in NY. Ardy began and developed a trampoline education program in her school district which became known for its performances and demonstrations, while Dick developed music and dance education programs to include Square Dancing in his school district.
In 1970, they retired from teaching and moved their family to Lebanon, NJ where they restored the Jones family historic summer home which became their permanent residence. They grew their Square Dance business as their fulltime careers which lead to National and International appearances at conventions, workshops and also developed an educational program to grow the increasingly popular recreational pastime that modern square dancing had become at that time.
Dick passed suddenly in 1982. During the years following, Ardis worked in various positions of bookkeeping, administrative duties and also taught physical education for a Christian school. She was very active in many churches over the years where she met and married her second husband, Peter Fernandez in 1990. Peter was a leader in the Gideon organization.
Ardis and Peter shared a passion for classical music, hymns, ballroom dancing, the beach, nature and ministry through their active support of programs to serve and provide to people in need. Ardis played the piano and Peter played the violin. Peter passed in 2017 after he celebrated his 100th birthday. Ardis worked for Meals on Wheels for as long as she was able to drive and work in the kitchens to prepare the meals. Ardis was a gifted, passionate gardener and she grew an extensive vegetable garden every year up until her health would not allow her to do so. They were most recently supporters as active members of the congregation at the Cokesbury United Methodist Church.
Ardis helped many people throughout her lifetime in any way she could. She expressed gratitude for the “Grace of God” for the blessings in her life. People have described her in many ways: “Tough as Nails”, “A force of Nature”, “No shrinking violet”, “The most elegant mountain women ever”, “kind, supportive, caring and giving”. She will be remembered and missed by many.
Survivors include two children; Christopher Jones and his wife Patricia, and Leslie Joy McPeek and her husband Ryan. Six grandchildren; Richard Paul Sietz, Aaron Jones, Rachel Joy Jones, Devon Joy McPeek, Amanda Brooke McPeek, Jessica Lauren McPeek. Three nieces; Kimberly, Terry and Tami. Two step grandchildren; Cindy and Bryan.
Arrangements are by Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home in Lebanon, NJ. A memorial celebration of life will be held on Friday November 24, 2023 at 2pm at the Cokesbury United Methodist Church, 230 Cokesbury Rd. Lebanon, NJ. Light refreshments will be served at the Church's fellowship hall after the service.
Memorials can be made to the Cokesbury United Methodist Church, 230 Cokesbury Road, Lebanon, NJ 08833 or to Meals on Wheels, 5 Walter E. For an Blvd., Suite 2006, Flemington, NJ 08822.