Kenneth Andrew Luderman, 89, passed away Friday, September 1, 2017 at his home in Medford following a two-year-long struggle with esophageal cancer.
Born in Klamath Falls, the son of Edwin and Annie Luderman, and raised in Chiloquin, he lived the last 47 of his years in Medford.
In his early years, Ken helped in his father's ice and cold storage business in Chiloquin. He graduated in the class of 1946 with six other seniors, then attended Southern Oregon College before transferring to the University of Oregon and graduating in 1950 with a bachelor degree in business administration. Ken was drafted into the Army in 1951, and he served in Japan as a corporal during the Korean War until he was discharged in 1953.
After serving in the Army, Mr. Luderman was hired in 1953 to work in the parts department at Interstate Tractor Company in Roseburg. He met his wife, Gloria Gaston, in Roseburg and they were married in 1955. It was during these years in Roseburg when the couple's three children were born. In 1956 Interstate Tractor was taken over by Papé Brothers. By 1959 Ken had worked his way up to store manager in Roseburg, and eventually he was asked to be the new store manager when Papé Brothers bought Crater Lake Machinery in Medford in 1970. Mr. Luderman took pride in his work and leading his dealership, and he truly relished the friends he made during his long tenure in business. Over the years and up to his retirement in 1998, Ken grew Papé Brothers in Medford into a very successful operation, which can be attributed to his work ethic and his ability to work well with other people.
Ken had a passion for gardening, and he could be found after work and on the weekends working in his vegetable garden. He took pride in providing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for his family, neighbors, and friends, which he did vigorously up to his last summer. Ken's appetite for gardening correlated with his love of eating good, nutritious meals. Ken was a pleasure to cook for and always expressed appreciation for a tasty home-cooked meal or a meal out at a favorite restaurant. Ken was an avid traveler and explored nearly every corner of the continental U.S., as well as taking numerous trips to exotic locations overseas. There was always mildly regretful talk of trips left untaken. That enthusiasm for travel has been handed down to the next generation of family members.
A dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, he was loved and admired by both family and friends. Annual family trips to Brookings each July, Thanksgiving dinners, and other family celebrations had Ken at the center of a close-knit family that mutually enjoys spending time together. Ken was the source of countless requests for advice, and he knew enough about everything in general to complete the daily crossword puzzle on his own, and fix or build nearly anything.
He leaves his wife of 62 years, Gloria (Gaston) Luderman; his daughter, Linda Renshaw and her husband, Roby; his daughter, Laurie Staff; his son, Brian Luderman and his wife, Cheryl Miller; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many friends.
A memorial service will be held at one o'clock October 14 at Ascension Lutheran Church, 675 Black Oak Drive in Medford with a private burial at Eagle Point National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Cancer Research Institute, cancerresearch.org; The Michael J. Newton Esophageal Cancer Foundation, themjnfoundation.com; or The University of Oregon, giving.uoregon.edu.