James A. Ludwig, 70, passed away unexpectedly on October 13, 2019, in Niceville. He was born in Lawrence, MA, to William H. Ludwig and Barbara Hanley Ludwig on April 25, 1949.
After graduating from Lawrence High School, Jim served in the National Guard. He married the love of his life, Kathleen W. FitzMaurice, in 1971, and worked at Demoulas Super Market before moving to Niceville in 1985. In Niceville, he and Kathy ran a thriving limousine service. Jim loved to tell stories of driving Bob Hope, Reba McEntire, and many other famous personalities around the Panhandle area. In 1997, he started work at Gulfeagle Supply and was the branch manager in Fort Walton Beach at the time of his death. He had many friends in the industry who were disappointed when they learned earlier this year that he planned to retire in December.
Jim’s life was defined by family and sports. He was a devoted husband and father. He was involved in youth sports and coached his children’s basketball, baseball, and softball teams for many years. He taught his teams the value of hard work, and his award ceremonies, which recognized the special talents of every individual player, were famous. When his grandchildren came along, he was on the sidelines at their every game as their most enthusiastic cheerleader. Always the New Englander, he remained a loyal Red Sox and Patriots fan.
Jim’s smile lit up the room. His sense of humor was legendary, and the stories he told were hard not to believe. He felt he was a lucky man, and his optimism led him to see the glass as always more than half full. He never complained.
In addition to his wife Kathy, Jim is survived by his sisters, Carol Hanley and her husband Richard Bernstein of Long Point, VT, and Lisa Berkel and her husband David of Carolina Beach, NC, as well as his sister-in-law Anna Ludwig of Kissimmee. He also leaves his children, Rachel Harshman and her husband Brian of Niceville, Kristen Ward and her husband Jeromey of Lake City, and James Ludwig, Jr., and his wife Nicole of Freeport. His grandchildren, who knew him as Bubba, will miss him: Amber Ludwig-Lyon; Sydnee Harshman; Sandy Murphy; Dakota, Kyra, and Sabrina Ward; and Emma, William, and Hope Ludwig. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews, scattered across the country. His brother, William Ludwig, predeceased him in 2016.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life on Monday, October 21, at 10 a.m. at McLaughlin Twin Cities Funeral Home in Niceville.
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