Ardith Francile Stidham

July 22, 1940October 7, 2018

Ardith Francile “Fran” Stidham, age 78, of Fremont, Indiana, passed away on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at Northern Lakes Nursing Center, Angola, Indiana.

Fran was born on July 22, 1940 in Fremont, Indiana to Raymond and Doris (Geeting) Walters.

Fran spent her early years working on the family farm, helping milk cows and work in the fields. She graduated from Metz High School, and later graduated from Manchester College, with a degree in education, and later received her master’s degree from IUPUI. Fran taught elementary school in Dallas, Texas and then returned to Indiana where she taught in Wabash, South Bend, Highland, Geneva, Lapel, and Elwood. While living in Geneva, Fran began tutoring special needs students and she eventually turned this talent into a business that she ran for nearly fifteen years. Besides teaching, Fran loved to garden and read. She spent many hours in the garden caring for her plants. Fran loved to try new things and would push herself to excel at each new hobby. Over the years she learned how to quilt, embroider, crochet, paint, and to do woodworking.

Fran and Duane were married on June 2, 1962. Fran was an amazing pastor’s wife, following Duane all over Northern Indiana. She was always ready to volunteer for whatever task was needed in their churches and was known for her ability to deal with teenagers as a church camp counselor and a youth group sponsor. Her roles in the churches varied from planning the Sunday School Christmas party to posing as an angel in a live nativity. Fran and Duane finished their years serving in the churches at Nevada Mills United Methodist Church and Orland United Methodist Church.

In 1974 Fran and Duane purchased five acres of land outside of Fremont. They spent the next twenty years creating the home of their dreams. They made their final move to their land in 1998, where they enjoyed spending their days together raising produce and chasing their pet dogs. Friends and family have fond memories of get-togethers there planting trees and cooking hot dogs. Fran’s epic Easter Egg Hunts became an annual tradition. After Fran was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012, she focused on living each day fully and remaining in her home with Duane as long as possible.

She was a member of the Angola United Methodist Church.

Survivors include her husband, Rev. Duane Stidham of Fremont, Indiana, a daughter and her husband, Sheryl Stidham-Gebert (Mark) of Appleton, Wisconsin, and three grandchildren, Nathan, Katrina, and Sofia. Also included are sisters-in-law Melba Fleck of Reynolds, Indiana, and Cheryl Young of Monticello, Indiana. Many thanks to the caregivers at Northern Lakes Nursing Home for the loving care they gave Fran during her last two years.

She was preceded in death by her son, Marc Duane Stidham, her parents, a sister, Evelyn Everly, and two brothers, Dwight Walters, and Leland Duane Walters.

Funeral Services will be held at 11 am Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Beams Funeral Home, Fremont, Indiana, with Pastor Craig Johnson officiating. Calling hours will be held from 9 am until 11 am Wednesday, prior to the services at the funeral home.

Following the Funeral Services a Graveside Service will be held at 4 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Spartanburg Cemetery, Spartanburg, Randolph County, Indiana.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association to assist them in helping find a cure for this terrible disease.


  • Alzheimer's Association


  • Visitation Wednesday, October 10, 2018
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, October 10, 2018
  • Graveside Service Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ardith Francile Stidham

have a memory or condolence to add?

Monika Polbring

November 12, 2018

Fran was love and joy personified. I think of all love Fran gave me when I was fortunate to be a part of your family. I am so greatful for Fran's love, which has been with me ever since. Fran was a role model how to cope with life, because she handled problems with positive thinking, a smile and laughter and spread love to everyone. I can still hear her voice and laughter.
With love, Monika

Neveda Thornburgh

October 9, 2018

I remember Fran as being kind & friendly.