Ardell C. Hildestad, 76, of Rochester, died Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at Mayo Clinic Hospital-Methodist after courageously fighting a battle with cancer.

He was born April 21, 1937, in Lanesboro, to Carl and Amelia (Christensen) Hildestad.

He was in the U.S. Army from Jan. 3, 1956, to Nov. 28, 1958, being stationed in Alaska for 26 months.

On April 18, 1959, he married Marie Kolbe at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester. He was a bartender for many establishments in Rochester and also worked 22 years for Crenlo, retiring in 1999.

He enjoyed yard work and the outdoors, casinos, visiting with family and friends and always liked helping his neighbors. He was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and also of the National Disabled American Veterans.

He is survived by his wife, Marie; son, Randy (Janice) Hildestad of Huntsville, Ala.; son-in-law, Craig Henden of Rochester; four sisters, Verna Berge of Stewartville, Deloris Ruzek of Lake City, Lilah (Allen) Ellingson of Lanesboro and Janet Peterson of Rushford; one brother, Bennett (Betty) of Shoreview; seven grandchildren, Tony (Stephanie) Henden of Kasson, Andy Henden of Rochester, Miranda (Justin) Servantez of Mason City, Iowa, Colby Hildestad, Millie Hildestad, Sammy Hildestad and Halie (Bradley) Smith, all of Huntsville, Ala.; 12 great-grandchildren, Dominic, Makenzie and Jaxon Noble-Henden, all of Kasson, Kayla, Tyler, Braedon and Madison Henden, all of Rochester, Jakob and Jarrett Servantez, both of Mason City, Iowa and Logan, Taylor and Grayson Smith, all of Huntsville, Ala.; many nieces, nephews and friends and special friends, Kathy Melloon and Carol Fischer.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Mary; two brothers, Tilman and Arlys; sisters, Carlene and Muriel and two infant twin sisters.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes in Rochester, with the Rev. Anjannete Bandel officiating. A visitation will be two hours prior to the service from noon until 2 p.m. Thursday, at Ranfranz and Vine.

In accordance with his wishes, his body has been donated to Mayo Clinic Anatomical Bequest program and interment will be in the Southeast Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston, at a later date.

A special thank you to Dr. Preet Singh, his Mayo Clinic oncology doctor, for his expertise and compassion and to the Mayo Clinic Hospice nurses and staff, especially Rachel, Amy, Julie, Jen and Jolita.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes in Rochester assisted the family with the arrangements.