Twenty years ago we lived at this place on Silent Oak in Farmers Branch. Prior to that we lived in another house in the section right next to this, on Pin Oak Court. Our neighbor was Ernie Ludwick, and he was an interesting character.
Ernie was a veteran from World War Two and an artist. He had converted his garage into a studio, where he was also building an airplane. I took a look at it and was a bit amazed, if not a bit alarmed. The airplane was going to be powered by a small automobile engine, and Ernie reassured me the concept had some history and was sound. The engine was to be mounted on the forward (wooden) bulkhead of the fuselage, and Ernie had constructed a tubular steel frame to support it. I was not impressed by the size of the machine screws holding the business together, nor the thinness of the steel tubing. It was my opinion that any failure of this attachment would require the pilot to take to a parachute.
Apparently nothing bad happened, because there was never anything in the newspapers about a crazy old man augering in aboard a garage-built airplane.
We moved away 30 years ago, and I lost track of Ernie. Yesterday, for some reason, I got to thinking of him and decided to look him up. I had no illusion he would show up on Wikipedia, but I knew he was married to an opera singer named Joan Wall. I found her listing and got the sad news that Ernie died last year. An opportunity missed to reconnect:
Joan Wall was married to Mark Wall from 1955 to 1972. She was married to Ernest Lee Ludwick from 1974 until 2015. Ludwick was a photo-reconnaisance pilot for the U.S. Navy during WWII. After the war he worked as a commercial artist and art director for Texlite Industries.
Updated: Following is Ernie Ludwick’s obituary from the Denton Record-Chronicle:
Ernest Lee Ludwick
Published: 07 April 2015 06:07 AM
Ernest Lee Ludwick, 95, was born in Spokane, WA, on April 29, 1919. He passed away April 4, 2015, at the Golden Meadows Assisted Living in Denton, TX. During his life he resided in Oregon, California, and Texas, living in Dallas with his wife, Joan Wall, for forty years before moving to Denton in 2004.
Ernest was the adopted son of Edgar Lee Ludwick and Leah Emma Lampson of Kennewick, WA. He spent his youth in Portland, OR. He took his first airplane ride with aviation pioneer Tex Ranken, the first flight of many yet to come. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, made Eagle Scout, and played the bugle for many scouting events in the Northwest. He portrayed the role of a boy scout during one season of a weekly radio program. He moved to Santa Monica, CA, in his high school years in the early 1930s and assisted his mother in her health food store, one of the first of its kind in the area.
Ernest received his professional diploma in Fine Arts and Photography from the Arts Center School of Los Angeles. He worked as a fashion photographer for Vogue. When he was offered a position with National Geographic magazine as international photographer, he chose to follow his lifelong love of flying and took a position as photo-researcher with Douglas Aircraft.
As WWII loomed, he joined the United States Navy and became one of the first photo reconnaissance pilots for the Navy. He trained in Pensacola, FL, and on navy carriers. Later he served in the Pacific theater of the war as a photo reconnaissance instructor in Hawaii until 1945, flying the F8F-2P Bearcat.
After the war, Ernest moved to Dallas and married Joy Clark. She passed away in 1971. In 1974 he married Joan Boyd Wall. He continued his passion for flying as a general aviation pilot, aircraft owner, and builder. Professionally he worked in advertising and later with Texlite Industries as art director until his retirement in 1974.
Ernest and Joan shared a beautiful, loving life together, supportive of each other in their endeavors. Ernest was known as a peacemaker, often sought out in organizations to solve conflicts. His consistently easy-going manner and his quirky, spontaneous, and humorous one-liners created a delightful personal quality appreciated by his friends and family.
Ernest is survived by his wife, Joan Wall; his brother-in-law, A. Preston Boyd and wife, Marsha; nephew and wife, Stevan and Barbara Boyd; nephew and wife, Jeffrey and Anabele Boyd, and their children, Rachel and Preston. Ernest’s life will be remembered in a private memorial. Condolences may be sent to his wife at 624 W. University Dr., PMB 373, Denton, TX 76201. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made: In Memory of Ernest Lee Ludwick, Boy Scouts of America, 2145 SW Maito, Portland, OR 97201.