44° Good Morning
44° Good Morning
Long IslandObituaries

Cecelia Ludlam dies; 'Rosie the Riveter' to her family was 91

Cecelia Victoria Ludlam died April 3 after suffering

Cecelia Victoria Ludlam died April 3 after suffering kidney failure. She was 91. Credit: Family photo

Cecelia Ludlam was never one for sitting still.

Though she worked long hours during World War II for aircraft-maker Grumman Corp. -- her children proudly described her as their "Rosie the Riveter" -- she spent lunch breaks in lighthearted competition with co-workers.

"She was the pingpong champion in 1943," said her daughter, Virginia Hazen.

Ludlam worked for decades as a full-time waitress, finally retiring in her 70s from Nassau Country Club. She devoted her spare time to hosting meals at her home, tending to the roses in her garden, growing peppermint for homemade iced tea and volunteering.

St. Patrick Catholic Church in Glen Cove benefitted from her culinary contributions to their bake sales. Her children fondly remembered that her brownies, Bundt cakes and French bread pizzas were a product of her boundless energy and generous spirit.

"My friends would come over after school, and as soon as she could come home from work, something would go in the oven," said son Robert Ludlam, 51, of Potsdam. "She was very much a giver in that way, very hospitable."

Cecelia Victoria Ludlam died April 3 after suffering kidney failure. She was 91.

Born in Glen Cove, where she lived most of her life, she moved in her final years to be near Hazen, 70, in Little River, South Carolina.

Ludlam had Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Prior physical challenges included a mild heart attack in the early 1980s and knee replacements.

"My mom was a survivor," Robert Ludlam said, adding, "She went through some pretty tough times: World War II; the Great Depression."

After divorcing her first husband, Cecelia Ludlam was a single mother to three children in the 1950s -- a time when it was uncommon for a woman to be the sole breadwinner. She later married and had two children with Stephen Ludlam, an Army veteran and former POW who died in 2002.

Cecelia Ludlam was active with the Oyster Bay VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

She was buried alongside her husband in Calverton National Cemetery.

Ludlam was a triplet and one of 14 children. She was charged with caring for and became especially close to another set of multiples in her family -- twin sisters of hers who are now 82: Sara Jane Komulainen of Smithtown; and Geraldine Gallagher of Brentwood.

"She used to take us for long walks and braid our hair and fuss over us," Gallagher said. "She did everything for us."

Other survivors include another son, Stephen Frontz of Eureka, California; two other daughters, Christine Howard of Brooksville, Florida, and Sharon Ludlam of North Las Vegas, Nevada; and 15 grandchildren.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Latest Long Island News