Published: May 10, 2011
William “Gary” Ludlow, 72, died peacefully at home April 30 from cancer. He spent more than 30 years in the antiques trade, dealing in fine and early American furniture.
He is survived by Martha, his wife of 48 years, and his daughters, Elizabeth Vaccariello of New Jersey and Sara Damante of Hudson, Ohio; his sons-in-law Steven Vaccariello and Scott Damante. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Holly and Charlie Damante and Sophia and Olivia Vaccariello.
Gary was born in Bernardsville, N.J., to Frances and Clifford Ludlow (both deceased), to generations of merchants in the Bernardsville-Far Hills, N.J., area. During his high school years, he became a national champion marksman on the .22 caliber rifle, winning numerous medals at the National Rifle Championships and achieving Distinguished Marksman level at age 17.
Gary earned a degree in economics from Lafayette College, where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. He served as a commissioned officer in the US Army, Infantry, on active duty from 1962 to 1964. His marksmanship skills were put to good use by the Army, which assigned him as Officer-in-Charge of the Final Marksmanship testing for basic trainees and later OIC for all basic training final testing. He was honorably discharged with the rank of captain in the US Army Reserve.
He began his career with the Travelers Insurance Company, specializing in group insurance and group pensions. He then joined the international consulting firm known as Towers, Perrin, Forster and Crosby as an employee benefits consultant and became a partner in the firm. Gary left the corporate world in 1979, to follow his dream of becoming an antiques dealer specializing in Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century American furniture.
Forming the corporation Gary and Martha Ludlow, Inc, Gary became a well-known and highly respected expert in his field. He and Martha sold fine pieces to collectors and museums throughout the country.
“Gary was a founding member of the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America in 1984, and he embodied the qualities of integrity, honesty and ethical conduct so highly valued by the ADA,” said ADA President Judith L. Loto. “He was admired by his colleagues in the antiques world for his business acumen and his general good nature, and he was a friend to all. He will be missed.”
Among the many in the trade who counted Gary a friend were Jeff and Amelia Jeffers and their staff at Garth’s Auctions in nearby Delaware, Ohio. “Gary was a Garth’s mainstay for many, many years. Gary was well-respected by our firm and staff here †not to be outdone in the industry when others would mention his name †fellow dealers and collectors alike respected and genuinely liked Gary,” said Garth’s Chief Executive Officer and auctioneer Jeff Jeffers.
“He was passionate about antiques †and even more passionate about his wife and two daughters,” Jeffers added. “If you wanted to see his eyes light up, either ask him about his latest find or what the girls were up to. Amelia and I, and everyone here, will miss his friendly smile, his great sense of humor, his warm laugh †and keen eye.”
Fellow antiques dealer Debbie Spiecker got to know Gary and Martha Ludlow on, and off, the antiques show circuit.
“When I think of all the wonderful people I have known in life, I have to count Gary Ludlow right at the top. His warmth, his laughter, his caring and sharing were what made him so real,” Spiecker said. “His family meant the world to him, and he lovingly shared stories and thoughts of them with friends.
“Some of the happiest times I remember were when Gary and Martha came to visit, and we shared lobsters and laughter over silly things, totally not serious, but so much fun. He had a way about him that made you comfortable in any situation. Martha is the same way. I can’t imagine better partners for each other than the two of them. We have been truly blessed to have known Gary and consider it a privilege to count him as a dear friend,” Spiecker said.
After more than 30 years in the business, he retired in 2010. Gary was an avid golfer, and would go anywhere for the opportunity to play a “Top 100” golf course. He was a member of Acacia Country Club, as well as Legend Lake Golf Club. He served on the board of trustees at the Dunham Tavern Museum and as a member of the steering committee of the American Furniture Collectors group of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Gary lived in Lyndhurst, Ohio, for 40 years, moving to Bath Township in 2007.
A memorial gathering took place May 7. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Western Reserve ( www.hospicewr.org ) or Best Friends Animal Society in ( www.bestfriends.org ) in Kanab, Utah.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm