of Bellefonte, AR
August 10, 1930 - May 21, 2023
Ardith Jack Yancey, age 92, of Bellefonte, Arkansas passed away on Sunday, May 21, 2023 surrounded by his family at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison. He was born on August 10, 1930 at Burr Oak, Arkansas, the son of John Earl "Blue" and Dollie Faye (Milam) Yancey. Along with his parents, Ardith was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mozelle Lee (Casey) Yancey; his brother, James Willaford Yancey of Witts Springs, Arkansas and his grandson, Joshua Lee Yancey of Branson, Missouri.Ardith worked many hard jobs to make a living for his family, including cutting timber with a crosscut saw, working at a sawmill, and picking cotton. In 1961, Ardith went to work for Claridge Products in Harrison and worked there for 41 years before retiring in 2002. When Ardith was eight years old, his family had a toy plastic guitar, and he tuned it and played it well enough that they could recognize the songs he was playing. His father said, "when I get my first paycheck out of my cotton crop, I'm getting him a guitar". True to his word, he ordered him a guitar from Sears and Roebuck, and that started a lifelong love of music. Ardith and his wife, Mozelle, spent countless hours making music, playing Bluegrass and Gospel music. They performed at many festivals and churches. They were instrumental in preserving Bluegrass music in the state of Arkansas. They were recognized numerous times by Arkansas Governors as pioneers and leaders in the state's Bluegrass music. Each governor signed a proclamation recognizing Bluegrass Week in Arkansas. When their son, Danny, was 12 years old, he started playing banjo and completed their family group. Even when Danny went on to become a professional musician, coming home to make music with his parents was always a special time. Their house was always open for friends and musicians to stop in for a "jam session," and many times, they lasted all night long. Mozelle would cook a big meal before sending them home. Many famous musicians stopped by their home to sing, pick and eat some of Mozelle's cooking. Among them were Buck White and Byron Burline. Ardith and Mozelle started the Northwest Arkansas Bluegrass Music Festival in 1971 and continued with the festival through 1980 before turning it over to the City of Harrison and Mayor Eugene Martin. The festival continues to this day and will be celebrating its 51st year in August. Besides his family, Ardith had two loves, music and sports. In his later years, much time was spent watching baseball, football, and basketball. One of his proudest moments was when his oldest son, Jack, was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame as one of the top referees in the state. Ardith and Mozelle were proud parents of their two sons, encouraging and supporting them in their careers and personal lives. When they became grandparents, they found their dream job. According to their grandchildren, they were simply the best, always loving, supportive, present, and fun!Ardith is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Jack and Tammy Yancey of Jasper, Arkansas, and Danny and Pam Yancey of Omaha, Arkansas; his granddaughter, Ashley Danielle (Yancey) Waters and her husband, Brad of Harrison; his grandson, Josh Lee and his wife, Brittney of Snowball; his great-granddaughters, Brittany Langdon of Jasper, Arkansas and Emmerson Waters of Harrison and his great-grandsons, Jackson and Jase Lee and Dalton McClung.Ardith is also survived by his siblings, Junior Yancey and his wife, Patricia; Helen (Yancey) Harmon and her husband, Troy; Duane Yancey and his wife, Eleanor, and May Lou Lemon.Ardith enjoyed a close bond with his brothers and sisters, visiting in person and on the phone. Uncle Ardith will be missed greatly by his nieces and nephews, as well as extended family and many dear friends. The funeral service is 1:00 PM Friday, May 26, 2023, at Roller-Christeson Funeral Home, with Bro. Arlis Burkes officiating. Visitation is one hour prior to the Service.Musicians will be Danny Yancey, Ashley Yancey-Waters and Brad Waters, Kent and Beci Coffey, Wayne Massengale, Keith Lee, and Pam Simmons-Setser. The interment is in Snowball Cemetery.Pallbearers are Jack Yancey, Danny Yancey, Brad Waters, Steve Lawrence, Willis Yancey, and Kenny Raver.Honorary pallbearers are Dr. Kenny Collins, nurse Bethany Hornaday and staff at Family Doctors Clinic, Nelson Ragland, Larry Flippo, Hansel Bradford, Kent Coffey and Ardith's granddaughters, Ashley and Brittany.
It's Monday, Take rest of the week off, rest up!
My thoughts and prayers with all his family and friends. Very sweet guy and very talented musician. May God give this family peace knowing that he is in the arms of the Lord now resting. God bless this family.
I knew Ardith and Mozelle since 1977. We were blessed to have them as our neighbors. They were the kindest and most loving neighbors anyone could ask for. They always shared veggies from their garden with us. I hold very loving memories of them in my heart.
So sorry for your loss ! You are in our prayers and we are thinking about the Yancey family !
Sending prayers for the family!!! I always loved listening to his stories at the softball games when he came to watch jack play . I know he will be missed dearly!!!!!
He will be missed but know he is in heaven with God and the love of his life.
Loved the video! I remember the first time I saw Ardith and Mozelle. I was maybe 6 or 7 and they played at the Roundup Club banquet; so long ago Danny wasn't even playing banjo yet. The first song I remember hearing them do was "I'm Using My Bible for a Road Map." Never heard anyone else do that song and I have loved it ever since. As the years went on we all got to play a lot of good music together and I am so happy to have been included. He's playing in the angel band now.
Uncle Ardith was such a special, sweet soul. I’m so thankful for his time here with all of us and the impact he made. He was always so encouraging to me with playing music, and both he and Aunt Mozelle were very loving and caring people. They are dearly missed.
Ardith will be missed by so many. Especially close and extended family. One of the last of true authentic bluegrass singers in my opinion. I’m obligated to be out of town beginning Thursday so I won’t be able to attend the funeral but my thoughts and prayers will be with all of you.
It was a special day when Ardith called me up to sing Happy birthday to me a couple years ago.Good friend. Will be missed.
Ardith was very special to John (Tommy) and I. There have been so many special memories made with him and Mozelle over the years. He was a great Brother-in-law and he always shared from his garden every time we went to visit. He was always so proud of his garden and wanted you to see how well it was doing when you stopped by. I loved spending time with him and all the family. He will be greatly missed. All the family is in our thoughts and prayers as you go through this time of loss. Love to all.
Danny and Jack,I don’t have words to say that suffice. But I will say this; I love my Uncle Ardith and I love both of you.
My deepest condolences go out to the Yancey family. May God be with each of you, as you go through this devistating time, together. I know he will be missed by many. My prayers are with you. God be with! Respectfully,✝️"Lynn"✝️