This post is about Dr. Bernard Ludwig, my uncle (mother’s brother) who, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 16 at the age of 90. His funeral will be Wednesday, Sept. 19 1 p.m. at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel (2401 Steeles Ave West).
What is best known about him is that during his long career as an obstetrician-gynecologist, he delivered 20,000 babies – the population of a small town. He has been acclaimed for his willingness to work long hours and his devotion to his patients. This devotion found expression not just in his availability to perform deliveries, but in his willingness to listen and, if appropriate, offer advice.
On one of my visits when he was still at home, I brought my 12 year old son Alexander with me. He had a message for Alex, delivered succinctly in the words “aim high,” which he then expanded upon in terms of the importance of setting ambitious goals. He then had a personal demonstration for us. One of the reasons he was in such demand was that he was highly skilled in doing the difficult deliveries. He has large hands, and he asked both of us to hold his hands so that he could show us that they still remained – at age 90 – strong and steady.
He also has a large heart, and it was this largeness of heart that inspired his practice, and that his patients responded to. And it was this kindliness and warmth that his relatives, in particular grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and grand-nephews responded to.
I’ve often written about local heroes, people who never have 15 minutes of widespread fame, but who make a huge contribution to the community around them. Dr. Ludwig was the epitome of a local hero.
While in the hospital room as he was dying, one of his former patients who knew he was in the hospital came by to offer prayers for him. And I was there to hold his hands. It was my way of saying thank you.