Ardene Catherine Shannon Janssen was born on August 17, 1931. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family on October 9, 2020. She shared 8 hours on this earth with her most recent great-grandchild, Addison Ardene Cody.

She is survived by her daughters, Dina Moore (Mark) and Shannon McCartney (John Filce); 5 grandchildren: Jake Moore (Christie), Lauren Sizemore (Cody), Cliff Myer (Julie), Teal Cody (Reid), Abby McCartney and her beloved nephew, Chuck Scoble. She was the proud great-grandmother to: Jack, Ora, Thomas, Adam, Ryden, Hunter, Robson and Addison. She is preceded in death by her infant daughter, Margaret Janssen, her husband of 43 years, Clayton “Bob” Robson Janssen, her sister Dorothy Scoble and brother-in-law Harry Scoble.

Ardene was born and raised in San Leandro. She boarded at Sacred Heart School on the Menlo campus in Atherton for high school. She then attended Stanford University, graduating in 1953. Ardene was accepted into medical school, however, was discouraged from attending by the dean because she was a woman. She then became a lab technician. Given her work ethic, inquisitive nature and intellect, she would have made a wonderful doctor.

While working in San Francisco, at the age of 26, she was set up on a blind date with Bob. Ardene’s dating advice to her granddaughters was, “You have to make sure a man is really special before you change your own plans for him. I must have told Bob we were celebrating my mother’s birthday 5 or 6 times in the first year we were dating before I would go out with him.” She was truly an independent woman. A “proposal” came about when Bob told Ardene he wanted to become a small-town lawyer and asked if she would move to Humboldt County with him, oh yes, as his wife. Her introduction to Humboldt County was a long 8-hour drive in the dark and rain from San Francisco to Eureka. She later said she arrived in tears.

Ardene continued to work as a lab technician into her 30s while raising her family. In 1967 she and Bob bought an undeveloped piece of property in Eureka. Ardene worked closely with an architect and contractor creating, building and decorating her dream house, which she filled with art from local artists and lived in for the rest of her life. Bob and Ardene purchased a condominium at La Jolla in San Jose del Cabo, B.C.S. in 1990, which provided a warm escape from the cold and wet Humboldt County winters. Ardene became involved with the community in La Jolla, creating many life long bonds. Ardene spent time every summer at the Trinity Alps Resort, a place she first visited as a child. As was her custom, she cultivated another set of dear friends. In recent years, this became a wonderful family vacation and an opportunity to spend time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Throughout Ardene’s adult life, she fully immersed herself in the Humboldt community. She was driven for causes she deeply believed in, being a passionate fund raiser for countless organizations. She was an active member of Lawyer’s Wives, Humboldt Sponsors, served on the Humboldt Arts Council, and was a member of Sacred Heart Parish. As a member of the Eureka Heritage Society, she was an integral part of raising funds to preserve the Romano Gabriel Wooden Sculpture Garden as a display in Eureka’s historic Old Town. She continued her passion for medicine by being involved in the establishment of the Arcata Open Door Clinic and serving on the Hospice of Humboldt Board of Directors. She later enjoyed volunteering every Thursday with her dear friend, Sally Christensen.

As an avid tennis player, Ardene continued to play at least once a week well into her 80’s with her college friend, Jan Mitchell. She enjoyed skiing, golf, dominos, bridge, and bird watching with her friends. The friendships built during these activities were as important to her as the event itself. As Bob eased into retirement (which he never fully did), they spent time traveling. Together, Bob and Ardene traveled to Egypt, Russia, Africa, and China. She took many trips after Bob’s passing including the Galapagos Islands to bird watch, Europe and Ireland.

Ardene was known for her generosity, upbeat attitude, love for her family and devotion. She had a vibrant spirit and was able to make friends in any situation. Her dear friend Lowell Engel said it best, “She always made me and others feel special”. Ardene was proud of her family and relished the fact that all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren lived within “an hour” of her.

As Ardene wished and Covid has dictated no public services will be held. Donations in memory of Ardene may be made to Hospice of Humboldt or to the Janssen Family Fund at Humboldt Area Foundation. She was truly a great lady and will be dearly missed by the many lives she touched.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Ardene Jannsen’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.