JOSEPH E. "JOE" LUDICK Joseph E. "Joe" Ludick, passed away peacefully at home in Port St Lucie on December 27, 2013. He was born March 16, 1922 in Kent, Ohio. He graduated from high school in 1940 and was working for the Erie Railroad when Japan attacked the United States. He joined the U.S. Marines in 1941 and landed on Guadalcanal as a member of the 1st Marine Division August 7, 1942, where he remained until he was evacuated to New Zealand as a result of contracting malaria. Between bouts of malaria, he ran a Guard company and advanced to the rank of Sergeant. In 1944, he was sent to Officers Training School at Oberlin College in Ohio where he married his high school sweetheart, Roberta Fitzgerald. He and Roberta moved to Miami, Florida, where he attended law school at the University of Miami and was graduated in 1950. He opened a law office in North Miami and in 1951 he was elected Mayor of the city. He served as Mayor, Judge, Commissioner and on numerous city boards for the next twenty years. In 1952, he started Little League in North Miami and managed teams in Pony League and the American Legion for 10 years. Cardinal great Steve Carlton and Red Sox Tony Torchia started out under his coaching. While living in North Miami, he was a founding member of Holy Family School and Church, the local Knights of Columbus chapter and the Elks Club. In the mid 1970's, he started hybridizing hibiscus and during the next 40 years he and Roberta developed more than 300 varieties of hibiscus, many of which are still cultivated around the world today. He helped to start four new chapters of the American Hibiscus Society (AHS) in Florida and Texas. He became director of the AHS in 1976 and served as its president 1982-1984 and developed AHS nomenclature that qualified for the Royal British Horticultural Society standings. He holds a U.S. Patent on his hibiscus "JoAnne Boulin", named after his daughter, and won the Hibiscus of the Year in 1988. An avid fisherman, he fished from Cabo San Lucas and Isla Mujeras in Mexico, the Bahamas and Tortugas and all ports in Floida with landing places in Islamorada and Chokoloskee. He won numerous fishing awards and recognition in South Flordia. Mr. Ludick retired from the practice of law in 1995 and moved to Port St. Lucie, FL, where he and Roberta celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In 1997, he became a Florida Master Gardener and was recognized as a Florida Yard Advisor for the Indian River Lagoon by the University of Florida. He started a fishing club in Port St. Lucie and was a member of the Port St. Lucie Anglers Club for 15 years and volunteered at the fishing clinic for children. His wife, Roberta, passed away in 2001. He is predeceased by three brothers, Gerald Ludick, George "Ted" Ludick, and Norman Ludick, and a sister, Matilda "Tillie" Wunderle. He is survived by his daughter, JoAnne Boulin, of Port St. Lucie, FL, two grandchildren, Joelle Buzby of Bernardsville, NJ, and Brett Boulin of Easton, PA, five great-grandchildren, and a brother, Ken Ludick of Rootstown, OH. A funeral mass will be held on Friday afternoon at 4pm, January 17, 2014, at St. Bernadette's Church in St. Lucie West, FL. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens, www.pslbotanicalgardens.org
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Published in the TC Palm on Jan. 5, 2014