John S. Ludington, 82, died Monday, December 6, 2010, at his home after a stalwart struggle with a number of health challenges. He was often known by colleagues and friends as “Jack,” and by his middle name “Sam” among high school and college friends
John was the son of Samuel Guy and Fredda (Holden) Ludington and was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 7, 1928. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Midland where he grew up He married Dorothy Irene Lamson, a fellow Albion College student from Saginaw, on February 14, 1953 and together they raised three children.
John was preceded in death by Dorothy in 1993. He is survived by their three children and their families: Thomas and Tina Ludington of Sanford and their children, John Thomas and Christopher Ludington; Laura and Martyn Hollenbeck of Midland and their children Shea and Lex Hollenbeck; and Annie and Patrick Sullivan of Chapel Hill, NC, and their children Colin, Cabriel and Laura Sullivan, and a dear friend, Ramona King of Midland.
Ludington graduated from Midland High School in 1947 and from Albion College in 1951 with a degree in economics. During the summers he worked in Dow Corning’s production facilities. After two years of military service with the United States Army Signal Corp., he returned to Dow Corning, where he worked in personnel relations and marketing, after managing several Industrial Relations departments, he was named Industrial Relations Director in 1963. He became General Manager of Basic Businesses in 1969, Vice President in 1971, and was elected President and a Director of the Company in June 1972. In September 1975, Ludington became President and Chief Executive Officer of Dow Corning, and in March, 1984, he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company. He was named Chairman Emeritus in 1992 and Director Emeritus in 1993.
Dow Corning’s business grew significantly during John’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer, with sales more than tripling largely because of its global expansion. Ludington was particularly appreciative of his fellow employees, and encouraged them and the Company to be competitive in the world marketplace. His commitment to Dow Corning’s global aspirations was evidenced by his many business activities outside Dow Corning that also contributed to the advancement of the Company. Ludington served on President Reagan’s Commission on Executive Exchange, and was a Director of the Japanese and United States Business Council. He served on the Board of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and as a Director of the American Industrial Health Council. In 1988, Ludington received the Fowler-McCracken Commission Award for Improving International Government and Business Relations.
Ludington was particularly proud of Dow Corning’s development of a Code of Business Conduct during the company’s international expansion in the 1970s. It established moral and ethical standards for the conduct of the company’s business in different countries with different cultural practices. Dow Corning’s Code of Business Conduct became a model for companies conducting international business.
A strong believer in “replacing the turf”, Ludington dedicated his time and effort to preparing a field of opportunity for others in his community. His commitment to Midland was reflected in his service to its many local boards and organizations. Ludington served on the Board of Trustees of the Strosacker Foundation, the Board of Directors for Comerica Bank, and as a Midland Community Center trustee. He was a Director of Junior Achievement, and also served as President and Executive Director. In 2002, Ludington received the Junior Achievement Pioneer Award for his role in the early development of the organization. He is also a past President of the Midland Kiwanis Club and has served a wide variety of other community organizations, including leading the United Way, Midland Center for the Arts and Midland Hospital fund drives. Ludington was a member of the First United Methodist Church, and served as Chairman of both the Official Board and the Finance Commission, as well as Chairman of the Trustees.
Ludington was an advocate for academic excellence and was committed to enhancing educational experiences for the next generation of leaders. Ludington served on the Albion Board of Trustees for twenty-one years, six of them as Chairman. He also served as a Trustee on the Board of Fellows of Saginaw Valley State College, the Michigan Molecular Institute, and the Foundation of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Most recently, Ludington was active with the Washington, D.C., based Washington Campus, which seeks to educate business professionals about legislative and regulatory processes and the impact of governmental change on their organizations. He served Washington Campus for eight years as both a Director and Chairman of the organization.
In 1969, Ludington participated in the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saginaw Valley State College, an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Northwood Institute and an honorary Doctor of Economics and International Business from Albion College. Ludington is also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Albion College and Albion’s Meritorious Service Award. His contributions of leadership and resources to Albion College will continue through the John S. Ludington Professorship in Economics and Management.
His life will be celebrated at a funeral services to be conducted at 11:30 a.m. Friday December 10, 2010, from the First United Methodist Church, with the Reverend Dr. Brent McCumons presiding. Interment will be in the Midland City Cemetery.
Visitation will be at the Wilson MILLER Funeral Home on Thursday from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and at the church on Friday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the service.
Memorials may be offered to the Dorothy L. Ludington Children’s Fund, through the Midland Area Community Foundation, or the First United Methodist Church. Personal messages of support may be offered to the family at www.wilson-miller.com