Take a moment to think back on your grade school days. Many of us can think of our childhood friends, our favorite classes, our least favorite classes, books that we read. We can also remember the teachers. The ones who were funny, the ones who were strict. But even more importantly, we remember the ones who made a difference in our lives and made our educational experience more than just a memory. For many students who attended Red Lake Falls schools, that teacher was Lois Ludwig.
On March 14, 2018, Lois Ludwig passed away at age 98. She was never married and had no children of her own, but she kept a number of dear friends close throughout her life. She spent of the majority of her professional career as a 4th Grade Teacher at Red Lake Falls school. When the news of her passing came, several former students reflected on their memories of Miss Ludwig:
“ Miss Ludwig was my 4th grade teacher and I became a teacher because of her. She was a very good teacher.”
“ Miss Ludwig had great penmanship, and she had a particular way of making her R’s. I still make my R’s the same way she did.”
“She was very stylish and pretty cool.”
“Miss Ludwig was a very devoted and professional teacher. She made a real impression on me.”
“I remember her empathy and compassion. It is the little things that made an impression on me.”
“She was a tough teacher, but always honest and fair. And she gave credit for good work.”
“Miss Ludwig was very intelligent and very dedicated to teaching. She put in many long hours.”
Others mentioned that she supported her students outside of the classroom as well, attending sporting events and other extra-curricular activities. One former student, Lana Violette, even took the time to write a letter to the editor and submitted it to the Red Lake Falls Gazette to honor her memories of Miss Ludwig:
“She was the most inspirational and motivational teacher of my academic career.”
After 34 years of teaching, Lois saw many students come through her classroom doors. And little did these students know, they were leaving just as much of a meaningful impact in her life as she was in theirs. Upon Lois’ passing, the Red Lake Falls school was informed that she left $360,000 to be donated to the school to set up a scholarship fund for future students.
“We are honored and excited about the opportunity this gift provides for our students in years to come,” said Red Lake Falls Principal, Brad Kennett. “After researching Ms. Ludwig we have come to know that she was as very effective teacher that had a big impact on many student’s lives during her time in our school district.”
Lois’ story is another lesson that she is teaching all of us here in Northwest Minnesota. We meet and interact with people every day from all walks of life, and we may never know the lasting impact we make in those peoples’ lives. For Lois, it was her students who gave her life a sense of purpose and belonging in Red Lake Falls. For her former students, it was their 4th grade teacher who taught them the importance of working hard and caring for others. As for the future students who will attend Red Lake Falls school for years to come, it will be one teacher who they never knew; but because of her compassion, they will have the opportunity to advance their education with a scholarship in her memory.
The Lois Ludwig Memorial Scholarship Fund has been set up at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The first scholarship(s) from her fund will be made to the graduating class of 2019.
If you have questions about how you may leave a lasting legacy, contact the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to speak to one of our development officers. You can find contact information on our website here.