Husband, great-grandfather, Newfoundlander, ordinary man. Born Jan. 20, 1913, on Fogo Island, Nfld., died Nov. 1, 2012, on Fogo of natural causes, aged 99.
The Flat Earth Society considers Brimstone Head on Fogo Island to be one of the four corners of the earth. In 1913, at the foot of this promontory, Arthur was born to Walter and Julia Ludlow, a fishing family in the Dominion of Newfoundland.
He entered a harsh, isolated environment of poor fishermen and wealthy merchants.
Arthur grew up in Joe Batt’s Arm to become a peaceful, dignified man and an exemplary husband, parent and citizen.
In 1920, his father found and cared for a young Danish sailor, Aksel Sandemose, who had jumped ship to avoid a cruel mate. The two became lifelong friends and corresponded for years. Arthur became the archivist of primary source material about Sandemose, who came to be a prominent scholar. Often visited by writers and researchers from North America and Denmark, Arthur willingly shared this material.
Every vote was important in the referendum that would see Newfoundland join Confederation with Canada. Having experienced two world wars and the Dirty Thirties, Arthur held the view that “things couldn’t get much worse.”
He was the returning officer for fishermen on several isolated islands, and transported the locked ballot box by motorboat over 11 kilometres of rough water so it would be included in the count.
“I suppose we would have still made it into Confederation if the boat had swamped, but it might have been a bit closer,” he used to say.
Arthur built his own boat and fished cod with trawl and hand line. One of his sons’ greatest memories was the smile on his face when, at the age of 97, Dad pulled his last codfish over the gunwales.
As chairman of the local school board, Arthur oversaw the building of the second central high school in Newfoundland in 1956. He supported his church and, through membership in fraternal organizations, provided leadership to “the young fellers [who] didn’t have much to do when the fishing was done.”
Musical entertainment was a passion of Arthur’s. An accomplished accordion player, he led the square dances at winter socials. His home was often the venue for a kitchen party, a card game, a soup supper and the odd drop of moonshine. Even into his 100th year, Arthur would “jam” with his boys.
Arthur was an ordinary man who came of age in a time of war and depression and, with his soulmate Winifred Brett from Barr’d Islands on Fogo, embarked on a life journey that cherished the values of family, education and service.
Arthur is our hero, mentor and friend, and we hold him in our hearts as we remember his dedication and love for us and especially for his “Winnie” during her final years with Alzheimer’s disease.
His community celebrated his life with music and song (no moonshine), and expressed their love and respect for this modest man by tipping their hats and referring to him only as “Mr. Arthur.”
His final words, delivered in typical Arthur style, were: “Now, boys, lock up on your way out. Take good care of yourselves.”
Wayne, Keith and Earl Ludlow are Arthur’s sons.
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