Ardith “Ardie” A. Holzer-Lezpona, 83, of Onalaska, Wis., was welcomed into Heaven by her mother, father and Jesus Christ, in the early morning hours of Dec. 31, 2018.
She was born on Jan. 30, 1935, in Plainview, Minn., to Byrl and Doris (Haney) Holzer. Ardie graduated from Aquinas High School in 1953. After graduation, Ardie moved to Milwaukee, and then to California where she married the father of her 3 children. She later divorced and moved back to La Crosse to be closer to family, eventually making Onalaska her home. On June 19, 1976, she married Larry “Duff” Daffinson. They were married 26 years before divorcing and remained dear friends.
After returning to La Crosse, she briefly worked at La Crosse Rubber Mills and Lucey’s Tosa Club. In 1970 she opened her well known Ardie’s Restaurant at 514 Lang Drive. The business grew for the next 20 years with one expansion in 1988, taking the seating from 62 to 90. In 1990, partnering with her 3 children, they moved one block south to the new location where Ardie’s Restaurant/Flipside Pub & Grill remains today. Ardie loved her time at the restaurant as it allowed her to see family and friends regularly, and ultimately led to her becoming the first woman to receive the Restaurateur of the Year Award from the La Crosse Chapter of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association in 1989. She served on the State Board of Directors with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association from 1993-2003.
Ardie was a proud parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent. Family was the center of her life, and her greatest joys were her grandchildren. Celebrating their birthdays, successes and milestones was important to her. Food and entertaining were her biggest passions in life; she enjoyed seeing loved ones getting together and making memories. She loved to cook, golf, and travel to visit family. She also enjoyed entertaining friends and family members around her pool, trips to Vegas, bird watching, and of course, a glass of red wine each night as she swore it was good for her health.
Ardie leaves behind a loving family sons; Fred (Patti) Lezpona and David (Reggie) Lezpona, daughter; Lynn Lezpona, grandchildren; Nathan (Naomi), Emily (Nick Forer) and Jacob (Sheridan Blaschke) Lezpona, Christopher Lezpona and Carmen (Tyler) Adams, great-grandchildren; Taylor and Skylar Lezpona, step great-grandchildren; Avery and Devin Moser; 10 siblings; Larry Holzer, Marlene (Mel) Bremer, Grace Purdy, Joyce Murphy, Tom (Bonnie) Holzer, Dennis (Debi) Holzer, David (Jeanne) Holzer, Chuck Holzer, Cheryl (Tom) Teff, Pam (Tom) Mumaw; niece and nephew; Kayla and Ben Holzer, who she helped with guardianship after their mother passed away, and many more nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers-in-laws, Bob Purdy and William Murphy; sisters-in-laws, Mary Lou Holzer and Aquilla Holzer.
A funeral Mass will be held 10:30 AM Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1032 Main St., Onalaska, Wis. Rev. Del Malin will officiate with burial to follow in the Onalaska City Cemetery. Friends and family are invited for a visitation from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Monday at Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave So., La Crosse, Wis. Family and friends may also visit from 9:30 AM until the time of Mass on Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials will be given to local charities.