Alva “Al” James Ault passed away peacefully on April 8th, at 8:50 pm at the Serenity House in Oskaloosa surrounded by his family. Al, son of Cecil Thomas and Marguerite (Edstrand) Ault Sr., was born October 14th, 1947, in Davenport, Iowa. From the day he was born, he lived a life that could never be considered ordinary. From a young age, Al was involved in music and theater and was involved in many stage productions with his family. He learned to work on cars in his dad’s garage in Rock Island, IL, and he and his brother Tom would hitch rides on the trains to Chicago to go watch the Chicago Cubs play. As a teenager, he started his first band called “Alva J. and the Travelers”. He was involved in several projects as a kid and played all around the Quad Cities, sometimes getting himself into some good trouble here and there, such as an incident involving a Catholic homecoming, fireworks, and some nuns. He was also involved in the Boy Scouts, eventually earning his Eagle Scout, including all three palms, an accomplishment he was extremely proud of throughout his life. In 1965, he graduated from Davenport Central High School, after which he enlisted in the US Navy, serving both on The Great Lakes and at Treasure Island in San Francisco. He was honorably discharged for medical reasons in the late 60s. Once he returned home, Al began to pursue his love of music and eventually turned it into his full-time career and was involved in a number of groups, including Raven, Smoke, South, Chance, Dakota, The Bullet Brothers, and Brenda Phillips and The Wheel Hoss Band.
Al married Kathy Myers, whom he later divorced. From this union, a most cherished son Steven was born. On December 21, 1984, he was united in marriage to Renee Sue Scholtus at the Rose Hill Community Church and later made their home in Oskaloosa.
After their marriage, Al and Renee took off during an Iowa blizzard for a three-year-long adventure with Brenda Phillips and The Wheel Hoss Band, with just an empty gas tank, a dead car battery, and $25 to their name. During this time, they toured the United States and Canada together, playing music and enjoying life. Some of their favorite adventures involved going to WWF wrestling on Monday nights when they toured through Florida, shopping, cruising around in their 1968 Chrysler Newport, and taking in every landmark they encountered, with The Bad Lands being one of their favorite spots. Al and Renee experienced many things together, including watching The Challenger disaster from their front yard in West Palm Beach and living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada during the Great Stampede. During his musical escapades, Al played with many notable musicians, including opening for George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Girls Next Door, Bill Haley’s Comets, and John Michael Montgomery and encountered countless more.
After touring, Al and Renee settled in Oskaloosa and started their family, welcoming their daughter Ashton and son Sean to the world. During his time there, he pursued his many hobbies, including Tae Kwon Do, in which he earned his 2nd degree black belt. He taught his youngest son how to work on cars, spending hours working on a 1976 Jeep J-10, which he would also take out during snow storms to “spin donuts” in unsuspecting parking lots with his family. He coached his daughter in softball and never missed a single game. He was reunited with his eldest son, Steven, in 1996, and cherished every moment he could with him, sharing their love of the Chicago Cubs, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and martial arts. He was the Cub Master for the local Cub Scouts for several years and loved singing the National Anthem before their big events, pinewood derbies, and making floats for the Lighted Christmas Parade. Even though he had put down roots, Al never stopped playing music. To all three of his beloved children, he passed along his love of music. He continued to perform in some capacity up until his final few years, including playing with bands and, in his later years, setting up and performing the classics at the local care centers in Oskaloosa. When he was no longer able to perform publicly, he still had his music room in the basement that he would retreat to and sing his heart out, often shaking the walls and knocking down pictures upstairs. Though he lost much of who he was to dementia, he never lost his musical spirit, singing up until just months before his passing. When his family would play his favorite songs from years past, the light would return to his eyes and the smile to his face, and he would remember every word, letting them know he was still there with them. To his very last breath, he was deeply loved by his family. There will never be enough words to encompass who Al truly was as a person, and he will be remembered forever by those who loved him, and his stories will be passed down to his grandchildren as they become older.
His family includes his wife Renee Ault of Oskaloosa; his son Steven (Claire) Ault Myers of Rhode Island and their children Ferryn and Skylar, his daughter, Ashton (Ryan) Buck of Oskaloosa and their son Dorian; and his son Sean Ault of Oskaloosa. He is also survived by a sister, Janet Copley of California, his mother-in-law Carol Scholtus of Fremont, and several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by two brothers: Robert and Cecil (Tom) Jr.; his father-in-law, Marion Scholtus, and his nephew, Andrew Scholtus.
Renee would like to extend a special thank you to her son-in-law Ryan and her mother Carol for all of their love and support over the last several years as Al required more love and care, including cooking, cleaning, and looking after him to ensure Renee and Ashton could continue working. She will never be able to thank you enough for what you have done.
Funeral services for Al will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 14, 2022, at Langkamp Funeral Chapel with Pastor Molly Goodrich of the First Christian Church officiating. Military honors will be presented by the Oskaloosa Honor Guard. Cremation will follow the service and burial will be held privately at Old White Cemetery in Oskaloosa. Visitation will begin after 11 a.m., Wednesday; the family will greet visitors from 4-7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to The Alzheimer’s Foundation, The Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa, or your local school’s music department to keep the music alive for the younger generations because for Al, it was all about the music.