Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373
Office: 413-665-4046             Fax: 413-665-0975
Frederick Luddy
On Thursday, September 24, a funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the old Dwight Chapel, on Federal Street in Belchertown.  Please note that inside attendance will be limited, although some provision may be available for outside seating.  Following a motorcade to Wildwood Cemetery, there will be a graveside service.

 

 

Frederick Luddy, at age 91 surely one of Amherst’s oldest native sons, passed from this life on Friday, September 18. He was born on August 7, 1929, in his grandparents’ home on North East Street and grew up in the little house next door with his parents, John and Verna Fleming Luddy, and his older sisters Irma (Puffer) and Esther (Tilton), now all deceased. He had fond boyhood memories of it all - trudging to the East Street School, the devastating Hurricane of ’38, and being chosen for several years to recite Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at Memorial Day services. He graduated from Amherst High School in 1947 and was a “townie” at Amherst College, class of 1951. Amherst College opened his world, and all of his connections there were significant – among the most memorable being selected to sing in the “DQ” (double quartet) a capella ensemble.  

After college, Fred taught at the Gable School in Portland, Oregon, before enlisting in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He served as a mortar forward observer in the 27th Infantry ‘Wolfhounds’ Regiment, and earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge; after the Armistice, he and Army buddy Robert Casebeer developed a high school equivalency program for returning GIs. He returned to teaching at Hopkins Academy in Hadley, Massachusetts for several years, where he taught history and served as college advisor for many students. Moving to Boston to become the first Secretary of the newly inaugurated State Scholarship Committee of the Massachusetts Department of Education did not break his ties with Hadley; having been elected to the School Committee there, he fulfilled his term and faithfully attended each meeting.  

In 1959 Fred accepted the challenging task of leading the development of a new independent elementary school in Lexington, Kentucky being established by concerned parents in the Bluegrass. He selected and led an experienced teaching faculty in developing curriculum, and he especially enjoyed recruiting parents to entrust their children to this new venture. It was a matter of great pride to him that The Lexington School, continuing to flourish, just celebrated on September 14th the 61st anniversary of its opening day. Many enduring friendships came from that endeavor.  

Returning to New England, Fred served as Assistant to the President at Fitchburg State College, and then  took a year to teach at Lees Junior College in Jackson, KY, deep in the Appalachian mountains, where he helped to invigorate state- and community-wide opportunities for students. After that year, he joined Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, where he became Dean of Admissions. During his time there, he also initiated a series of educational broadcasts on Boston’s WGBY television station, including an interview with Henry Steele Commager from Amherst College. He brought his concern for returning GIs to the attention of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in Washington, and with several others developed an educational assistance program for returning Vietnam veterans. To inaugurate the program, Fred accompanied the Bob Hope tour to Vietnam in 1969.  

In 1973, another challenge drew Fred to Ann Arbor, MI, to work with international student exchange program Youth For Understanding (YFU), which involved worldwide travel as well as cultivating Michigan connections. Tapped by Governor Bill Milliken to direct the Bicentennial Volunteers in Michigan (VIM) program in 1975, Fred especially enjoyed linking social service programs across that very diverse state, from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula. In 1976, as a board member of International Cultural Exchange (ICX), another student exchange program, he was asked to serve as interim director while the program completed its final season. This involved negotiations with the U.S. State Department and assisting hundreds of staff, volunteers and parents all over the world to enable students to complete their year abroad. 

Fred moved with his family to Pelham Road in Amherst in September 1977 to develop his interest in writing. With Nola VanderMeer, a dear family friend and long-time nurse in the Applachian mountains, he completed The Tired Country Smiles, a book describing the decades she and her husband Reverend Sam VanderMeer spent developing their community at Morris Fork, Kentucky. With entrepreneur Paul Benjamin, Fred became the editor of The Countryside, a magazine devoted to publishing many valley-area stories. With Van R. Halsey, then Director of Admissions at Hampshire College, he was able to prevent the demolition of the Dickinson-Baggs Tavern – the 10th oldest building in Amherst – and restore it as the charming building it is today. Fred also taught a “gifted and talented” program in the Gill-Montague school system and wrote a weekly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette for many years. He was a life-long student of the writings of Robert Frost; while in Michigan he had discovered that there were people associated with the University of Michigan who knew and loved Frost, experiences he described in a cover story he wrote for the Detroit Free Press in 1976. 

In later years, Fred was for a time an Amherst Town Meeting member, served on the board of the Amherst Historical Society, and was involved in several town committees. He enjoyed staying connected with his many Hopkins Academy students and Hadley friends, and working with his ’51 Amherst College classmates on reunions where the old songs were sung and friendships renewed. He was a long-time member of North Congregational Church in North Amherst; in later years he joined Dwight Chapel, now Christ Community Church in Belchertown.  

To Fred, his greatest achievement was his family and the many dear friends he gathered throughout his long life. Those who loved him will always cherish the memories of his irrepressible good cheer, his smart and sophisticated sense of humor and quick wit, his erudite writings and deep love of classical music, his old school values and chivalry, and his newspaper clippings all over the house,.  

Fred is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judith Hobbs Luddy; his four children, son John Frederick Luddy II and wife Tami of Vienna, VA; daughters Lucy Erickson and husband Jon of Long Beach, CA; Hadley  Luddy and husband Wes Spiegel of Orleans, MA; Dixie Clarke Luddy of Amherst, MA; and twelve  grandchildren: Charlotte Luddy; Sam, Olive and Edith Spiegel; Morgan, Cameron, Whitney and Rhys Erickson; Mitchell Baki, Jocelyn Quinn, Natalie Baki and Eliza Luddy.  

On Thursday, September 24, a funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the old Dwight Chapel, on Federal Street in Belchertown. Please note that inside attendance will be limited, although some provision may be available for outside seating. Following a motorcade to Wildwood Cemetery, there will be a graveside service.  

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the following:  

Morris Fork Community Center, c/o Edie Egbert, PO Box 81, Buckhorn, KY., 41721

Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation (https://dbafoundation.org/donate/, PO Box 1092, West Seneca, NY 14224) on behalf of his granddaughter Eliza.

Christ Community Church (https://www.gracefortheway.org/give, P.O Box 1270, Belchertown, MA 01007)

Expressions of Sympathy are available at: www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com