1924 – Nov 4, 2018
Rita Ludlum, a longtime resident of Princeton, died on November 4 at her residence in Stonebridge at Montgomery. She was 94.
In addition to raising six children, Rita was a prolific community volunteer, most notably for The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, where she was an active member for 50 years. The organization created the Rita Ludlum Citizenship Award in her honor. She served as president, and led the voter registration efforts for many years and until recently was active at the registration table at the farmer’s market in Skillman.
Rita ran the catechism program at St. Paul Parish, helped produce the Princeton Adult School curriculum, and organized English classes for spouses of local graduate students.
She was born and raised in Milford, Mass, the second in the family of four daughters of Bernard and Catherine Byrne Manion. At age eight, she spent most of a year in bed due to rheumatic fever and received the last rites of the Catholic Church before recovering.
Upon graduating from Regis College, she taught high school English for two years. As she wrote in a biographical sketch, “Thinking life could be more interesting, I left for Boston. The Boston theater was the last stop before New York and the second balcony was affordable. I volunteered to teach English as a second language to the many refugees flooding the city.”
In Boston she worked for the American Meteorological Society. She described her work there as chiefly “keeping track of members, helping them with any problems—being nice to members.” One of them was David Ludlum. “I guess I was nice to him,” she wrote, “because in less than a year, we were married and I was off to Philadelphia and New Jersey.”
David and Rita moved to Princeton in 1957 where they built a house in the Riverside area. There she continued raising her children and as their needs subsided, devoted increasing time to community service. David died in 1997 and Rita became one of the original residents of Stonebridge in 2005.
She is survived by five children, the youngest, Kathy, having died from an automobile accident in 1980. They are Ken of Foster City, CA.; David of Princeton; Peter of Mission Viejo, CA.; Stephen of Brunswick, ME, and Carol of Trappe, PA. There are nine grandchildren, one surviving sister, Dorothy Saunders of Bowie, MD, and 12 nieces and nephews.
Memorial services are to be held on January 12 at a time to be announced at Stonebridge. Donations may be made to Catholic Relief Services, 228 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3443.■