January 18, 1919 – January 8, 2019
Earl Ladewig, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died January 8, 2019, 10 days shy of his hundredth birthday. Born in Harvey, Illinois on January 18, 1919, Earl, a twin, was the youngest of six boys. Sadly, his twin sister, Ruth lived only 3 weeks.
After high school, Earl became an apprentice baker but was drafted into the army just weeks before the United States entered World War II. On January 17, 1942, in a moment of great good fortune, Earl met Freda Hurd at his first USO dance in Denver. They married four months later on May 18th and shared a life of love and joy for 54 years until Freda’s death in 1996.
Earl was honorably discharged in October, 1945 and returned to the baking business. He and Freda bought a house in Englewood, a home he lived in until his passing. After four years as a civilian, Earl re-enlisted in the Air Force, where he served for almost 29 years. He retired in 1974 as a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank available. To this day many of his family and friends referred to him as “Chief.” Others call him “Pop” or “Dad.”
While Earl was still on active duty, tragedy struck: in 1968, oldest son Melvin was shot down over North Vietnam and was declared MIA. To this day the POW/MIA flag has a place of honor in the Ladewig home.
The Air Force provided many amazing experiences for the Ladewigs. Except for one stint in England, Earl’s family was able to accompany him on all his assignments, which included tours in Rabat, Morocco; Myrtle Beach, SC; and Athens, Greece. All of Earl’s children have delightful stories to tell of their experiences during the Chief’s tours.
Travel was an important part of life for the family. Freda and Earl took many wonderful trips together and with various family members. Their passports were well used indeed!
Following his retirement, Earl and Freda returned to their home in Denver, where he worked for the state of Colorado for 9 years until his second retirement in 1983. During these years sons married, grandchildren were born, then great-grandchildren, and the Ladewigs reveled in their close-knit family.
Pop was an active, fun-loving man, always ready for an adventure. He taught all his sons to camp and loved sharing time with them in the wilderness. Then, too, whether it was downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, or even water skiing, he loved to explore any activity to spend time with his family. Pop also climbed several of Colorado’s 14ers, his last at age 83! Perhaps his greatest adventure, however, came when he went sky diving as a spry 95-year-old. The family waited for his landing in nervous anticipation but he loved it!
There are so many stories to share – Earl, the volunteer bus driver in Morocco, transporting children to events and on tours all over the country. Earl, the American Red Cross volunteer, driving neighbors to medical appointments and traveling across the country to assist victims of floods and earthquakes. Earl, the father, who taught his sons to be good, loving men; who cherished his only daughter and delighted in her; who attended many of his children’s games and sporting events – and what an active group they were! Earl, the father-in-law, who welcomed his daughters-in-law and made each one feel she was an important part of the family. Earl, the grandfather, who loved to tease and spend time with his grandchildren and who took such pride in them. Earl, the bon vivant, who loved pub crawling and even has a tap named for him at a local brewery. Earl, the friend, who still had ties from friendships formed decades ago.
Earl Ladewig truly was an exceptional man. He was deeply loved and he will be missed.
Earl is survived by seven children: In Denver – Timothy (Patricia) Ladewig, Harry, Marie, Duane (Jeanne), and Roy; in Colorado Springs – Robert (Alys) Ladewig; and in Kingwood, Texas – James (Sandra) Ladewig. He also has 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Freda Juanita (Hurd), his sons Melvin and William, his parents, and all his siblings and their spouses.
A Visitation for Earl will be held Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary & Cemetery, 6601 S. Colorado Blvd, Centennial, Colorado 80121. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 am, Friday, January 18, 2019 at St. Louis Catholic Church, 3310 S. Sherman St, Englewood, CO 80113. A Committal Service will occur Friday, January 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm at Fort Logan National Cemetery - Staging Area B, 4400 W. Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Earl's name to the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203, https://www.redcross.org/local/colorado.html.
- Martha Emma (Fehlberg) and Arthur C. Ladewig, Parents
- Freda Juanita (Hurd) Ladewig, Wife
- Melvin Ladewig, Son
- William Ladewig, Son
- Timothy (Patricia) Ladewig, Son
- Robert (Alys) Ladewig, Son
- Harry Ladewig, Son
- Jim (Sandy) Ladewig, Son
- Marie Ladewig, Daughter
- Duane (Jeanne) Ladewig, Son
- Roy Ladewig, Son
- Michael Phillips, Grandchild
- Kim Lyman, Grandchild
- Ryan (Amanda) Ladewig, Grandchild
- Erik (Kedri) Ladewig, Grandchild
- Melvin (Sandy) Ladewig, Grandchild
- Meggan (Barry) O'Mahony, Grandchild
- Chris (Iuliana) Ladewig, Grandchild
- Tiffany Ladewig, Grandchild
- David Ladewig, Grandchild
- Paul (Kacey) Ladewig, Grandchild
- Elaine (Shane) Wolford, Grandchild
- Earl is also preceded in death by all of his siblings. He leaves numerous great-grandchildren and many other loving family and friends to cherish his memory.
- Timothy Ladewig
- Robert Ladewig
- Harry Ladewig
- James Ladewig
- Marie Ladewig
- Duane Ladewig
- Roy Ladewig
- American Red Cross
- Visitation Thursday, January 17, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, January 18, 2019
- Committal Service Friday, January 18, 2019
have a memory or condolence to add?ADD A MEMORY
February 6, 2019
My dad was my best friend. He was the kindest, most loving person I have ever met in my life. He lived his life to the fullest and did everything in his power to take care of his family. That was his life. His family. He never complained about how hard he had to work, he never let on when he may have needed something from us. He just loved us and cared for us and took care of us his whole life. i will miss him every single day of the rest of my life and though I told him I loved him a lot, I regret every day that I did not. What an incredible example of a wonderful human being. The earth is less of a place without him, but heaven is a greater place with him. He is at last free and having a lovely reunion with my mom and my brothers and the rest of his family that was waiting for him with open arms. I know he is a better place, but I wish he was still here with me. I am so sad without him but so happy he is free.
January 19, 2019
Earl hired me in 1982 and came to our hippy wedding in Evergreen, CO with Freda who crocheted towels for us as a wedding present and booties for our 2 children. I moved back to Buffalo, NY in 1992 and enjoyed sharing Christmas cards with him lo these many years and keeping up with all of his adventures. He was a wonderful man and will be truly missed. Risa and Fred Klee
Jess Gerardi, Ph.D.
January 18, 2019
I first met Earl when I moved to Englewood back in 1963. Earl and I attended the same church, St. Louis. Earl served Mass and was a sacristan there for many years. I got to know Earl best when we both attended daily Mass for many years. I was always amazed by the stories he told me about his adventures, mostly those he did with his son Harry.
Who would have thought that a man in his 90’s would have snorkeled in the Caribbean, rode the big swing in Glenwood Springs that went out over the canyon, and at 95 jumped out of an airplane? Unbelievable.
During his early and mid 90’s, I used to see Earl working out with the weights at the Malley Center in Englewood. While there were many people in the gym, none were even close to Earl’s age. In fact the next oldest person was probably 15 years younger. I said to Earl, “Earl how do you like working out here at Malley?”……….His answer, “Ooh I don’t know….there are a lot of OLD people here.” Priceless! His handshake was solid right up to the week before he died. I always looked up to Earl as a role model. He was a wonderful man. May he rest in peace!
January 15, 2019
Dear Roy, I send you my condolences from Spain, praying for the eternal repose of your father. I have read the obituary and I am sure his life, full of fruit, will be now in the presence of the Lord. As the former pastor of Saint Mary Catholic Parish and brother knight, I promise to keep him in my prayers at the Holy Mass in these days of sorrow and also of great hope. God bless you! Fr. Alvaro Montero
January 14, 2019
I never got to meet Earl but I knew of him through Roy Ladewig.
Roy shared Earl's adventures of sky diving and going on the family cruise. Roy also shared of Earl's goodness and love for family and country. Earl's legacy continues in Roy as he is good, kind, honest and strong.
Sending prayers of support and comfort to the family and friends of Earl Ladewig during the difficult time.
January 13, 2019
Dear Ladewig Family,
I could not have imagined on that first day of college (so many years ago) the positive impact getting to know the Ladewig family, and specifically Chief, would have on my life. His positive, always happy personality along with his genuine love of life, was a treasured example and one I have used to keep myself focused on the important things in life. As my kids grew and grew to know him too, we always enjoyed getting to spend time with him. Those Saturday morning discussions, walks and breakfasts were highlights of so many weekends! We will miss your presence here but know our good Lord welcomed you home as one of his good and faithful sons.
Richard & Ruth Ladewig
January 12, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Eternal rest in heaven will be his.
Love, Dick & Ruth
January 12, 2019
January 12, 2019
There is a special connection with St. Louis Catholic Parish and School that will always remind me of the Ladewigs. I met Pop after Mass and little did I know I was embarking on an extraordinary journey that would forever enrich my life. There is an authenticity about Pop that brightened each soul he encountered. His genuineness is one of a kind. I am proud to know the Ladewigs and the richness of their family history. Thank you Chief for your service to our Country. I am eternally grateful. I'll miss your hugs! Rest in our Lords care.
January 12, 2019
Earl was never my biological grandpa but I have know the Ladewigs long enough to call him grandpa and he was ok with it. My favorite memory of grandpa was when Elaine showed her tattoo of his signature to him and he was very confused because he didn't remember signing her ankle. But then we explained it and he giggled. I always loved his giggle!
January 12, 2019
One memory that sticks out is being on a lunch date with Grandpa, and the whole time he talked about Grandma. I was very young when she passed, so I don't remember her all that well. I can still remember the way his eyes beamed talking about her. That model of true love is something I always looked up to in him.
Grandpa was the kindest, most witty guy. He was a wonderful man who, with Grandma, brought wonderful children in to this world. His legacy certainly lives on through those he left behind.
Love you always Grandpa.
January 11, 2019
It's hard to imagine how many lives this one man touched over the century he was here.
Anyone who knew him knows that each person who crossed his path was better for it.
He was a remarkable man whose kindness, love, wry humor and faith will, fortunately, live on through his children who emulate all those same traits in honor of him.
I am so thankful for having him in my life and for the legacy of Ladewigs he leaves behind!
Cheers to Earl, Pops, Grandpa!