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Ardis Macaulay

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Ardis Macaulay, age 75, died March 28, with her partner, Tom, present, at their village residence. They moved to Yellow Springs in 2018, leaving their long-time wooded property home in Miami County.

Ardis Susanne Macaulay, born July 26, 1948, was the loving daughter of Lila M. and John R. Jansen, of Chicago, who preceded her in death. She married Thomas Macaulay in 1969, and was the mother of Ian Macaulay, the grandmother of Juan Macaulay and mother-in-law to Ana Gaspar.

A gifted, intuitive and prolific visual artist, Ardis found great pleasure working in all media. She also loved writing and was an accomplished poet. Her creative process came from the spirit and was filled with joy and enthusiasm, reflecting her innate ability to craft visually stunning pieces and poignant poetry imbued with profound wisdom.

With a degree in visual art, and a trained art therapist, Ardis found her calling in working with high school students. She began her Ohio teaching career in 1973 at Tecumseh High School, then taught at Bethel High School while completing a master’s degree in art therapy, and later taught at Mechanicsburg High School, from which she retired. In her final teaching position, each term she taught photography, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, painting and 2-D design.

Ardis loved immersing herself in the beauty of the natural world and connecting with its many wonders. She frequently walked the wooded paths around her home, appreciating the numerous insect, tree, animal and flower species encountered, while discovering and collecting nature’s detritus “gems,” like a fallen autumn leaf with uniquely hued veins or one with an insect-created small, heart-shaped hole, and the sculpture-like forms of a pebble or a squirrel-nibbled nutshell.

A memorial gathering is planned to be held outdoors on the Friends Care Community campus this summer, with her family coming from Costa Rica. Former students, especially, are invited to this summer memorial gathering. To be informed when the event date is set, email If you wish, to honor her memory, please donate in her name to any cause that you believe is improving the state of our collective existence.


3 Responses to “Ardis Macaulay”

  1. Donna Burkle says:

    Dear Tom, Ian and family,
    I was a student of Mrs. Macaulay at Bethel. She was such a kind and caring person. I learned so much from her which made me appreciate art even more. I talked with her online some also. She definitely left an impression on my heart. I loved how she let us listen to Phil Collins in class. May you find comfort from our Lord.
    Donna Taylor Burkle

  2. Ronni Conner says:

    Tom & Family,
    Mrs. Macaulay was one of the most, if not THE most beautiful souls I’ve ever met. I was blessed, along with James and Masako, and so many others, to have had her as my own teacher. She was so much more than an art teacher- she was a healer on so many levels. I’m so sorry for your loss, I have nothing but fond memories of her. She was absolutely amazing.

  3. James Forman says:


    James Forman here. I am very sorry for your loss.

    You may remember me as I came to visit you and Mrs MaCauley back in the summer of 2021 with my wife and two children.

    Mrs. MaCauley meant a lot to me, and to many of the students at Mechanicsburg, as you well know. I was part of the group with Masako and Ronnie, among many others, that found solace and joy in learning and making art with Mrs. MaCauley. I would sneak in often to visit and work on art projects, even when it wasn’t my class time.

    To some degree, I would even go as far as to say she saved me. I had a difficult childhood, from of the sense that my mother passed away early, and we were on the lower rung of the economic ladder. I was a bit of a wildcard, and she provided me with a lot of what I was missing in my life: Caring and good counsel.

    I still talk regularly with Masako and Ronnie. I actually visited Masako in NYC back in December. We always end up talking about Mrs MaCauley. I would say I wish there were more like her, but as I’ve gone through life, I realized that there just aren’t that many of her around, unfortunately.

    Tom, if you need anything and I can do something to help, please let me know. I would love to try and come down and see everyone, though I cannot commit at this time. Please keep me informed. I wish you and your family the best. James

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