Margaret Ardelle Dennis

Date of Birth

June 11th, 1917

Date of Death

December 5th, 2011

Memorial Meeting

Multnomah Friends Meeting


Born June 11, 1917, in Klamath Falls, OR, Margaret Ardelle Dennis died on December 5, 2011, in Oregon City, OR.  She was known among Friends as Ardelle, to others as Del.

Ardelle was a founding member of Multnomah Meeting where she served faithfully for decades in many roles and as a gently welcoming soul for newcomers.  She came to Friends after spending a year at Pendle Hill following her graduation from Willamette University in 1939.

She would often speak of the importance of her study and immersion in both theological and political discourse at Pendle Hill.  It was while living there, in Philadelphia, that she met her future husband Walter Dennis at a Socialist Party picnic at the Washington Monument.  Walt was raised Catholic, Ardelle as a Methodist, together they came into the Religious Society of Friends. When they moved to Portland with their family after World War II they became part of the Portland Worship Group of Willamette Valley Monthly Meeting and were among the Friends who founded Multnomah Meeting in 1958.

Professionally Ardelle was a teacher.  While working at David Douglas High School whe designed and ran the On-Campus Alternative High School earning a Teacher of the Year Award for Multnomah County in 1979.

After Walt died in 1984 Ardelle again became very active in the Meeting, bringing her compassion and love for all people into the religious community she helped found.  Her tenure as Clerk of the Ministry & Oversight Committee taught many what it means to bring God’s love to the difficult situations the Meeting and its members face in this life.  Everyone felt a sense of overwhelming sweetness and acceptance in her presence and, at the same time, knew the firmness with which she could maintain a deeply held belief.

As she aged, Ardelle’s sight failed and then her health.  She died peacefully at home.  Knowing death was imminent she said she was ready.  Her life was full, full of giving love to others and having it returned.

Ardelle’s family grew over the years.  She is survived by three children:  John, Diane and Emily; four grandchildren and six grandchildren.

A Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Margaret Ardelle Dennis was held under the care of Multnomah Meeting on January 13, 2012.