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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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February 22, 2020

1/18/2020 7:30:00 AM
Marilyn L. Ludgatis

Marilyn L. Ludgatis died unexpectedly on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 at Ascension St. Mary's Hospital.

Marilyn was born on June 28, 1934, in Oconto, to Miles and Ethel (Way) Hurning. The family moved to Rhinelander where Marilyn attended Wildwood School, a one-room school in Newbold. She didn't know it at the time, but this is where she first met her future husband, Richard Ludgatis. Marilyn attended Rhinelander public schools and was a 1952 graduate of Rhinelander High School.

She was united in marriage to Richard on Feb. 23, 1953. The couple lived in San Diego, Calif. while Richard served in the United States Navy. They returned to Rhinelander immediately (and we mean immediately!) after completion of his service to the country in order to establish their life together. They designed and built their home together on River Street in 1956, where Marilyn lived for the next 63 years.

Marilyn was first employed at the Rhinelander Paper Company but spent several years at home to raise her family. She spent the majority of her working career at J. C. Penney, where she started in the catalogue department and retired in 1994 as the office manager.

Over the course of her life, Marilyn and Dick traveled across the country, sometimes with family, sometimes with friends, and sometimes just the two of them. She always enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people, but her real passion was building a home that was comfortable, cozy and always welcoming to family and friends. She took great pleasure in decorating the house and yard for each and every holiday, Marilyn enjoyed cross-stitching and ceramics, which graced her house (and those of her children!) throughout the year, but shopping expeditions with her sister searching for just the right touch were legendary.

Marilyn loved connecting with people. She could talk to anyone whether shopping, accompanying friends to appointments, or having her car serviced, she could always find something to talk about and make people laugh. She made friends easily and stayed close to her lifelong friends with coffee klatches, lunches, and get-togethers.

Her grandkids have fond memories of annual camping trips with grandma - she loved them too, but it took her weeks to recover! The family spent summer weekends at the lake swimming, boating, and just enjoying each other's company. The memories of those special times in life make us rich.

Marilyn has been a devout member of First United Methodist Church, and took special pleasure in volunteering for the PEP program over the past 12 years.

She will be dearly missed by her children: Deb (Lee) Richardson and Mark (Tammy) Ludgatis; six grandchildren: Brad (Beth) Richardson, Rebecca (Joel) Lemke, Jessica (Eric) Sautbine, Aaron (Kara) Ludgatis, Michael Ludgatis and David Ludgatis; and seven great-grandchildren: Lauren and Claire Lemke, Brady, Bennett, and Beau Richardson, Quinn Ludgatis and Rowan Sautbine. She is also survived by a brother-in-law, Robert Fries of Woodruff, and nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 58 years, Richard; grandson Brian Richardson; her parents, Miles and Ethel Hurning; brother Norman Hurning; and sister Betty Fries.

Visitation for Marilyn will take place on Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, 2020 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hildebrand Funeral Home.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 724 Arbutus Street, Rhinelander, with Rev. Mark Klaisner officiating. Additional visitation will take place at the church one hour prior to the service.

Interment will take place at the Newbold Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Marilyn's name may be made to the First United Methodist Church Personal Essentials Pantry (PEP).

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hildebrand Funeral Home & Cremation Specialists, 24 E. Davenport Street, Rhinelander, Wisconsin 54501, 715-365-4343. Everyone is invited to light a candle, sign the guestbook, leave a photo or an online condolence at

The family is heartbroken but are smiling, knowing that Marilyn has been reunited with the love of her life.

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