Ardell E. Botten of Whitney went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus. Christ on July 5, 2020. Ardell was born January 10, 1930 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Emil E. Botten and Marie Christine (Storstad) Botten. Ardell has joined his lifelong friend and wife of 69 years, Jean Mardel (Smedsrud) Botten who preceded him on his way to Heaven’s Gate.
Raised during the years following the Great Depression and WWll, Ardell occasionally mentioned those difficult times with humor and fondness. The story would often start with “we didn’t have much”, or “while living on the farm we made do or did without.”
During the war years, everything was rationed. Another favorite topic was cars and how well made they are today, as he reminisced about WWll era vulcanized inner tubes for tires and how often he got flat tires because of those stupid tubes. When work for his Dad became scarce the family moved to his uncle’s farm. Farm life meant lots of hard work and chores, but it also meant plenty of food from his aunt’s huge garden. He remembered the family gathered around the radio, listening to the news about the war in Europe and in the Pacific. Before the end of the war, Ardell’s family had moved back to town because his Dad was able to find work as a carpenter.
America’s economy was transitioning from supporting the war effort to supplying the needs of everyday America. Ardell finished high school and attended trade school to learn to be a brick mason. Ardell and Jean’s longtime friendship turned the corner to romance and soon marriage in December 1949.
Around the time of Ardell and Jeans marriage, the situation on the Korean Peninsula got ugly. Ardell found himself in the Army and headed for combat in Korea. Ardell returned home unscathed and soon began his studies at the University of North Dakota to become an Engineer and several years later earned a degree in business.
After college, Ardell joined Roel Construction and began his construction career. Roel was looking for greener pastures in the construction business and decided to move to southern California. Ardell and his family moved with the company. Ardell quickly built a reputation as a first class construction superintendent. Ardell’s specialty was reinforced high-rise concrete construction. Roel construction quickly became a well-known money making organization in the southern California construction industry.
Ardell was a great judge of character and recognized those with a strong work ethic. Over the years he recruited a group of construction professionals who formed the nucleus of his team. On every job site for years you always found men like Willie White, Mike Cosio, Chuck Cordon, Dave Salas and Larry Henderson. Here are a few of Ardell’s construction accomplishments in southern California; Sears North County Fair Mall, San Diego Police Administration building, McKellar Research Center, Plaza Bonita Mall, Metropolitan Correctional Center, Omni Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel Tower, Embassy Suites Hotel. San Diego City Operations building, Mission Valley Convention Center, SDSU residence hall, and the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.
Ardell eventually moved to management positions for Roel and Camacho construction, typically holding positions associated with structural concrete his forte. Ardell retired at age 62, but continued to be active behind the scenes as a consultant and estimator.
Retirement offered Ardell the opportunity to travel and invest more of his tine in other interests. For many years, Ardell and Jean travelled to North Dakota to get reacquainted with family and friends often staying for weeks at a time.
Even as a child, Ardell had always been an avid sports buff. He could recite trivia for baseball, football, basketball and hockey. His interest in sports led to a longtime friendship with a sports card/memorabilia entrepreneur, Dave Jordan. With Mr. Jordan’s expertise and sage advice, Ardell amassed a prized sports card collection. Sadly, most of the card collection, stored in a bank safe deposit box in Grand Forks, was destroyed during a flood in the 1980s. Things began to slow down for Ardell and Jean.
The decision was made to move from the hustle and bustle of southern California, to a quieter lifestyle at White Bluff just outside of Whitney, Texas. Ardell and Jean were drawn to Whitney because their daughter Diane Holley lived and worked in the area.
Ardell and Jean became active members Of the White Bluff Chapel and participated in many of the Chapel’s activities. Ardell and Jean were seasoned bridge players and quickly became active members of several bridge playing groups in the area.
With the passage of time, age and hearth issues finally caught up with Ardell and Jean. They spent their last year together at a nursing home, Town Hall Estates in Whitney. The Lord blessed Ardell and Jean with so much over the years. They in turn shared those blessings with many others.
Ardell is survived by his son Ronald Botten and daughter Diane Holley, both of Whitney; 4 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Ardell and his wife Jean will be missed by many, but we will see them again when we are called home by our Lord and Savior.
The family is planning a memorial at a later date.