|In Memoriam: George O. Ludcke|
George O. Ludcke
Much gifted are those with many virtues and talents. And much gifted are those who know them, compete or practice law with them, or are family to them. George Ludcke was so gifted, and so were we. George had compassion and empathy for his fellow man. He knew everybody and enjoyed most people. He was funny and loved humor. He could barely contain himself when an executive of a client in a major case reported she had lost her telephone in a certain plumbing fixture. One memorable example of George's humor was his coining of an office award given annually to those who most annoyed his partner, Tim Kelly.
George was passionate about his work, family and life. As an athlete, one of the highlights of George's life was his attendance (and award – the hardest slap-shot) at an adult summer hockey camp up north just weeks before he died. It was ironic that he should die unexpectedly while playing hockey with friends on a Sunday evening.
George was a good guy. He was humble. His charm included idiosyncrasies like his disorganized office and unusual lateness, flushed, out of breath, but smiling: Here he comes now, his shirt open, necktie pulled loose, papers spilling out of his briefcase.
George Ludcke was a Minnesota boy through and through. Born in Minneapolis, he attended Washburn High School, then graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota in 1975 and Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978. He was a dedicated Gopher football fan.
Let there be no doubt – George was a great lawyer blessed with street smarts, intuition, judgement, and jury magic. He was bright, and his impish streak didn't hurt either. George became a Hennepin County public defender out of law school, later switching to the civil litigation side as a partner at Best & Flanagan and Kelly & Berens. He was treasured at both. He was respected by the bench and, importantly, by his litigation adversaries. Perhaps the latter knew George was a light heavyweight Golden Gloves boxing champion in his youth.
A story comes to mind which illustrates his Minnesota soul and other virtues. In a protracted trial involving many “big city” out-of-state litigators (if you catch our drift), George conducted a special, difficult cross-examination. He bested the witness and wowed his compatriots, save an experienced Minnesota trial lawyer who commented, “These guys think that was the best cross-examination they ever saw. But I know it was just the work of a journeyman trial lawyer.” George laughed, taking it for the compliment that it was.
George was particularly devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Georgianna, and two adult children, Isabel and William. He is also survived by his mother, Jeanette Ludcke; sister, Ann Greer; and brother, Bill.
As a former friend and colleague wrote, “It is tragic and ironic that George, who was late for almost everything, ends up being 40 years early for his own funeral.
- Michael Berens (published in the 2005 Hennepin County Bar Memorial Booklet)