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Gary Ludlow, 72, Antiques Dealer, Champion Marksman

He specialized in pieces of Americana from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Gary Ludlow left his job as a partner with an international consulting firm in 1979 to pursue his bliss: Collecting and selling antique American furniture of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

 The Bath Township resident, who died of complications from cancer April 30 at age 72, became a founding member of the Antiques Dealers Association of America in 1984.

The organization issued the following statement May 4:

"Gary embodied the qualities of integrity, honesty and ethical conduct so highly valued by the ADA. 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."

Ludlow and his wife of 48 years, Martha, who moved to Bath Township in 2007, sold pieces of Americana out of their former Lyndhurst-based business.

The couple traveled throughout Ohio and the former colonies to exhibit their finds at such events as the Antique Dealers Association of America’s Historic Deerfield Antique Show in Deerfield, MA, and the Fall Hartford Antiques Show in Hartford, CT.

“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,” fellow antique dealer Debbie Spiecker wrote via email from North Hampton, NH. “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.”

Ludlow had a set routine for ADA shows, according to George Spiecker in the same emailed message.

“We would set up on a Thursday, and then head for the pub downtown for dinner. On Friday, after either serving on the furniture vetting committee, or putting signs out on the highway with arrows to the show, we would get ready for Chinese dinner across the street from the motel, and of course Saturday, after the show, it was pizza and TV football back at Gary’s room.

"Gary loved those Big Ten football games. It was those simple, honest moments in our life where Gary shined, and it was a pleasure to be a part of.”

Ludlow became widely regarded as an expert, while selling antiques to collectors and museums throughout the country. He retired last year.

"Gary Ludlow was the epitome of the gentleman antiques dealers," wrote Arthur S. Liverant of Colchester, CT.  "He was always studying, aiming to improve his knowledge of American furniture and decorative arts.  He treated all people with the greatest respect, classic of the midwestern ethic.   He was always patient, and willing to teach experienced collectors and new students interested in his field of knowledge."

He was born William Gary Ludlow in Bernardsville, NJ.

As a teenager, Ludlow won numerous medals at National Rifle Championships for his skills as a marksman with a 22-caliber rifle. He achieved Distinguished Marksman level at age 17.

After graduating with a degree in economics from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, Ludlow received a commission as an Army officer.  Because of his shooting background, he was put in charge of final marksmanship testing for basic trainees. He continued serving with the Army Reserve after his active duty ended in 1964. He retired with the rank of captain.

Ludlow began his business career with the Travelers Insurance Co. as a specialist in group insurance and pensions. He was an employee benefits consultant and partner with the former Towers, Perrin, Forster and Crosby consulting firm before embarking on a career in antiques.

He served as a Dunham Tavern Museum trustee and on the steering committee of the American Furniture Collectors group of the Western Reserve Historical Society. He was a charter member of the Antiques Dealers Association of America, formed in 1984.

Ludlow also belonged to Acacia Country Club and Legend Lake Golf Club.

In addition to his wife, Martha, survivors include daughters, Elizabeth Vaccariello and Sara Damante; and four grandchildren.

A memorial gathering will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at Ferfolia Funeral Home, 356 W. Aurora Road, Sagamore Hills.

 Donations may be made to Hospice of the Western Reserve or Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab, UT.

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