Cover photo for Ardel Louise Whitaker's Obituary
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1937 Ardel 2021

Ardel Louise Whitaker

December 20, 1937 — November 17, 2021

Hyde Park-Ardel Whitaker, 83, passed away peacefully Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at her Hyde Park home enveloped in the love of her family. She was born Ardel Louise Kniffin on December 20,1937 in New Haven, Connecticut, the only daughter and middle child of seven children from Earl Vinton and Bernice Eva (Read) Kniffin of Guilford. She grew up a "ragamuffin", on Little Meadow Road, in hard times with six notoriously mischievous brothers and a few neighboring girls who remained close friends for life. She had great empathy and a well-honed sense of humor, which combined with her circumstances helped instill in her the toughness and determination to get through life's adversities. She was a graduate of Guilford High School in 1955 and became an L.P.N. in 1957, received her training and started her nursing career in the same hospital where she came into the world. Ardel married Howard Russell Whitaker on October 3, 1959. They moved to Vermont in 1961 to farm and start a family. She resumed nursing at Copley Hospital stopping to raise her children and in the 70's was a seamstress at Fashions and Fabrics in Morrisville. Sewing and altering everything from drapes to wedding dresses, often with her son, Dan. Feeling they would be better under pressure they frequently let deadlines loom, challengingly close before even starting some projects, but always managed to come in under the wire. She returned to Copley Hospital at the birthing center in 1980 where she lovingly welcomed and swaddled countless new souls into the world until her retirement in 2006. Ardel's heart was brimming with love which bubbled over with love, which bubbled over and permeated her home, making it a welcoming haven throughout the years for all who visited. And visit they did. She said after the move from Connecticut they had forty-five visits from "Kith and Kin" in the first year alone. Her brother, Philip married one of her dear childhood friends who succumbed to cancer in 1967. In that tragedy's wake, their six children moved in and found solace with her at the farm. The memories of their time there were among their happiest, and they treasured the time spent with their beloved aunty. They resided there for varying lengths of time with Wanda staying until she graduated from Lamoille Union High School in 1976, but remained always in Ardel's heart, her eldest daughter. She was generous with her creations. If you knew her it's likely you have "A. Whitaker bears", a Raggedy Ann doll, quilt or some other keepsake or sampled something from her kitchen or pantry. She was generous with her time and knowledge as well-sharing her passions, teaching her many acquired skills, passing on the joy she felt when creating. With her many interests and hobbies and she was seemingly in constant motion. She found joy in the simple pleasures of life, singing and listening to music, taking bread, beans, cookies and pies, canning pickles, jams and jellies, pressing fruit for cedar or wine, sewing Teddy bears, clothes, dolls, quilts and masks, knitting hats and mittens, gardening and crosswords, researching and gathering herbs, steeping Essaic tea, Kombucha, making soap, rendering lard, picking apples and especially berries was a therapeutic activity for Ardel. She usually persisted longer in the berry patch than her much younger companions and rarely left without at least some reluctance. When she did come to rest, it was often on her deck, amongst the flowers, watching the birds and squirrels bathing in the warm sunshine, giving thanks for all she had. She was an active member of the Morrisville Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and cherished the caring companionship and lasting friendships she had with their fold. She flourished in the love and fellowship of her spiritual brothers and sisters and her strong faith in her creator. Ardel leaves behind her children: David Whitaker and partner, Brenda Kniffin of Royalton; Sharon Whitaker and husband, Garrett Cross of Hyde Park and Rebecca Whitaker and partner, Kelly Backus of Lowell; grandchildren: Hillary, Nicholas, Evan, Isaac and Noah; great grandchildren: Julian and Arhaea; her brothers: Philip Kniffin of Waterford, OH and David Kniffin and wife, Marilyn of Windsor, Vermont; Wanda's husband, Ervin E. "Buster" Needham and their children: Jason, Kelly, Kate and Casey who affectionately refer to Ardel as "Aunty Gram" and their children as well as myriad extended family children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and "shirt-tail relations" who all love her. Ardel was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Howard Russell Whitaker; their son, Daniel Howard Whitaker; her niece Wanda Ann Needham; daughter-in-law, Penny Lynn Young; Tauren Lee Camley and Eric R. Trombly (Penny's son); great-granddaughter, Kyra Lynn Lowe and brothers: Peter, George, Henry and Earl Kniffin and many dear in-laws and friends. Visitation was held at Faith Funeral Home on November 23rd, 2021. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 21st at 2:00 p.m. at Hooper Cemetery in Hyde Park. Contributions in Ardel's memory may be made to Lamoille Home Health & Hospice, 54 Farr Avenue, Morrisville, VT 05661.
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Minor Funeral and Cremation Center

, Hyde Park, VT 05655

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