Ardell Arthur "Casey" Vilandre

Ardell Arthur “Casey” Vilandre, 88, of Fountain Hills passed away peacefully at home on Feb. 12, 2021.

Casey was born in Grand Forks, N.D., on April 18, 1932, the only child of Arthur Napoleon and Alice (D’Heilly) Vilandre. He attended St. Michael’s Catholic Grade School in Grand Forks, and St. John's Preparatory and University in Collegeville, Minn. He was proud to have been an Eagle Scout.

His favorite sport was football and he played college ball under legendary coaches, “Johnny Blood” McNally and John Gagliardi. In his senior year, he was co-MVP of the MIAC. After graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. Upon his discharge, he returned to Grand Forks and married Mary Ann Mahowald on Sept. 24, 1956. They would have celebrated 65 years of marriage this fall.

Casey joined his father in the family business, Vilandre Fuel & Heating, where he grew the business to include air conditioning and plumbing. He sold the family business in 1997 and it continues on to this day after 86 years. After the historic flood of 1997 claimed their home, he moved to Bemidji, Minn., and enjoyed many years golfing, water skiing, boating, grilling with his son and sons-in-law, and watching sunsets over Lake Bemidji.

Casey and Mary Ann raised five children. Upon retirement, the entire family enjoyed a houseboat trip on Lake Powell which provided lots of memories and laughs over the years. In the winter months, they made their home in Fountain Hills where he enjoyed watching moonrises over Four Peaks. He was a huge North Dakota Fighting Sioux sports fan, an avid golfer, loved watching his children and grandchildren play various sports and visiting with his 16 grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; and their children, Zoe Ann (Mark) Wambach, Cave Creek, Kathy (Neil) Whalen, Hutchinson, Minn., Jim (Kathy) Vilandre, Grand Forks, N.D., Gretchen (John) Langmack, Tempe, Jennifer (Jade) Leung, Scottsdale; 16 grandchildren, Dana and Alex Wambach, Kree (Troy) Nelson, Monica Swanson, Lindsay (Ben Greve), Katie, Casey (Anna), Annie, Thomas (Lindsey Woodburn) Whalen, Haley and Matthew Langmack, Nya and Ty Leung, Toni and Kelsi Vilandre, Andrea (Chad) Blalock; eight great grandchildren, Maddie, Emma, Olivia, Sam, Rowin, Maren, Logan and Freyja, and many nieces, nephews and lifelong friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents and most of his golfing buddies.

A funeral mass will be held at Church of the Ascension in Fountain Hills Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, and a memorial at St. Philips Catholic Church, Bemidji, Minn., sometime this summer, followed by a graveside service at Calvary North Cemetery, Grand Forks, N.D. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorial contributions be made to Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix, AZ at hov.org/donate, Church of the Ascension, 12615 N. Fountain Hills, Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268, or St. Philips Catholic Church, 702 Beltrami Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601.