Howard F. Ludwig, 97, of Waterloo, IL, was born in Valmeyer on April 4, 1923, to Sherriff AC “Boots” and Adele Ludwig, and then grew up in Waterloo. By the age of 4, he had become somewhat of a local legend when Rogers Hornsby tossed batting practice to him between doubleheaders at Sportsman’s Park. Other than his years in the service, he spent his 97 years residing in, serving, and making a memorable mark in Monroe County -- in baseball -- and also in his many volunteer efforts.
During his military years, Howard often wrote home, and often about his favorite sport. He played for the base team on Tinian – the only team to beat the Manila Dodgers, who were all professional players. It was six decades later that he shared a story about how only there was only one time he overslept while on active duty. A training flight he was supposed to be on went down that morning and many of his fellow soldiers were killed. He often wondered why he was spared in that way, but knew there must be more he was supposed to do with his life.
After he returned home, he received his accounting degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. During a school break, he met Doris P. Schellhardt of Valmeyer through some mutual friends. It wasn’t long before the two courted and were married in September of 1950. Howard played baseball for the Waterloo Buds until his son Mark was born in 1955. Years later, Mark also played for the Buds, coached by Vern Moehrs, who had taken over second base from Howard.
Howard spent many years commuting to East St. Louis for his job with the Internal Revenue Service. After his retirement in 1978, he continued to complete tax returns for individuals and businesses for another 40 years.
Howard held education in high esteem and spent many years on the Waterloo School Board, serving as a member and later as treasurer. He established a scholarship for students who would major in English. He also paid his two grandchildren one dollar for each book report they wrote for him, just to make sure they were reading and writing. One went on to be an attorney and the other a journalist.
Howard also served for 75 years as a member of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois, earning numerous degrees.
Howard and Doris enjoyed traveling together and visited much of Europe and the U.S. Howard was also an avid golfer and shot his age for the first time at age 76 in 2000. He was a member at the Waterloo Country Club from 1960 until his death, and won several Club Championships. He always said he only played eight days a week. On his off days, he could be found fishing on his lake, or in Canada, Alaska, or even the Arctic Circle. He also enjoyed quail hunting, especially when there was a good dog along for the hunt.
Howard’s love for dogs led him to adopting his companion, Snickers, after Doris passed away in 2011. Snickers passed a few years later, but Howard continued to support Helping Strays and the Humane Society of Monroe County in her honor.
Howard passed away on January 9, 2021. He was preceded in death by his wife Doris P. Ludwig, parents Alfred and Adele Ludwig, and brother Arley Ludwig. He is survived by son Mark (Vicky) A. Ludwig of Ashland, Mo., grandson Jason H. Ludwig of Ashland, Mo., granddaughter Tiffany (Luke) L. Wessler of Ladson, S.C., and great-grandchildren Timothy and Thomas Ludwig, and Michael, Annalynn, and Simeon Wessler.
Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at Quernheim Funeral Home, with the service to follow at noon. A celebration of life will be held at Waterloo Country Club from 1 to 4 p.m. the same day. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Howard’s honor to Helping Strays of Monroe County.