William L. Ludwig passed away Sunday March 20th, 2016, on his birthday. He was 89 years old. Bill was born in Plymouth and moved with his family when 9 years old to Eagle River. He was one of six children, and had very fond memories of his childhood growing up in a loving, happy and talented musical family. He loved sports and his Model T, and established many lifelong friends in this area.
He graduated in 1944 from Eagle River High School and served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. Upon returning home he began his college career in Stevens Point, and while there he met the love of his life, Shirley Thompson, and they were married in 1948. He always said he knew the moment he met her, she was the best, and throughout their 68 year marriage his favorite phrase was, “Shirl, you’re the best!”
Bill later transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison graduating in 1951 with a BS in agriculture. He began his career with the US Soil Conservation Service as a soil scientist and worked in Madison, Wausau, Ashland, Stratford, Neillsville, and Rhinelander, and out of state at Athens, Ga., and Des Moines, Iowa.
While in Neillsville he played drums with the Howie Sturtz Orchestra for 12 years, appeared often on TV’s Dairyland Jubilee, and recorded four albums. Bill loved the Big Band era music and enjoyed the heck outta playing with a band. In Neillsville he and Shirley occupied free time snowmobiling, cross country, and downhill skiing with the kids; and it was also there he obtained his private pilot’s license and became active with the Civil Air Patrol. Frequently eating dinner late, because Bill was always headed to a meeting, as he was forever on a board of directors or a committee most of his life and even into retirement – too many to list. But he enjoyed his role as a public servant and was always happy and willing to help others. Bill illuminated the lives of everyone he met with his strong handshake and big smile … a true reflection of his honest and kind soul.
After retiring in 1984 from the SCS, and with all the girls gone, he and Shirley moved to Eagle River where Bill began his second career as a strawberry farmer. He worked tirelessly perfecting the biggest most delicious strawberry he could. He loved working on his land! And “weather permitting” he was out hoeing, plowing, irrigating, bulldozing or just walking around assessing things, sun up to sun down. Bill loved to be outdoors and was always concerned about the protection of the environment and it’s natural resources. Over the last six months, Bill fought his battle so determinedly, and struggled stoically to remain independent and rational, but in the end succumbed to the insidious Alzheimer’s disease.
Bill (or Lowell to family) will be deeply missed, but leaves many cherished memories to his wife Shirley and their three daughters; Nancy (Scott) Dobrzynski, Amy (Mike) Florence, and Janice (Gary) Gardner; five grandchildren, Grant (Mary) Greenwood, Greg Greenwood, Gerrid Greenwood, Seth Hansen and Grace Florence; and one great-grandchild Gabriella Santos; siblings; Andrew (Kay) Ludwig, Jr. and sister May (Bob) Oberg. Bill was preceded in death by his parents Margaret and Andrew Ludwig Sr., one sister Audrey (Frank) Carter, and two brothers, Jerome (Donna) Ludwig, and Bernard (Donna) Ludwig.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 1, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eagle River with Pastor Mary Anne Biggs officiating. Viewing 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m., with a light lunch to follow. You may leave your private condolences for the Ludwig family at www.carlsonfh.com. The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is handling the arrangements for the Ludwig family.
10:00 AM – 11:00 AMEagle River First Congregational United Church of Christ 105 N. First Street, Eagle River, WI 54521, United States
11:00 AMEagle River First Congregational United Church of Christ 105 N. First Street, Eagle River, WI 54521, United States
Dad’s favorite place
He was the strongest, most honest and hard working man in my life, I will always love and missyou.