Wes was born to George Wesley and Edna Mae (Bell) Ludwig on Dec. 21, 1929 in Grand Junction, Colorado. He moved to Redding with his family while in high school.

He served in the US 5th Army Armed Division Op Korean War in 1951 with honorable discharge from the army reserves in 1953. Entered as private, exited as Sergeant. He received the Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal, 2 Battalion Service Stars, and United Nations Ribbon.

He married Nancy Jane Hickok in July 1960 and divorced in November 1972. They had two daughters, Valerie Lynn (Robert) Slaughter of Lafayette, Oregon; Jenelle Sue (Benson) with her children Carly and Matthew of Australia and Chris Bryan of Texas with three great-grandchildren.

He married Nona Winkle Kitchen on June 21, 1973 bringing stepchildren Nola (Dennis) Lionberger of Grants Pass, Oregon; Jonnie (Rita) Reames of Panama, Oklahoma; Kathi (Dennis) Hendricks and Jeffrey (Kay) Kitchen of Eureka. He also left eight step-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his wife Nona Ludwig, stepson Larry Kitchen, by both parents George Wesley and Edna Mae (Bell) Ludwig, and sisters Beryl Ludwig and Ramel Leach.

He spent most of his career as an optical technician and dispenser. He was the manager of Bay Optical Labs in Eureka, making glasses for most of the local optometrists for many years. He retired from Bay Optical in 1990.

He was interested in wood working, and remodeled his and Nona’s home after retiring. They shared a love of cooking and walking. He said that he and Nona walked at least 50,000 miles in their retirement, before her death three years ago. In the last few years he had started creating intarsia artwork from wood. His last piece was entered into the Humboldt County Fair in 2023, and won 1st Place, Best of Show and 1st Place in Category. His most consuming interest was in investment strategies and he was quite successful in his own portfolio. He wanted to educate all his children on the importance of investing early to provide for retirement years.

He will be missed by his many friends and neighbors in McKinleyville. They watched out for him in his last years. He baked muffins and sourdough bread and shared his goods with many. Even strangers walking the route that he walked daily were treated to fresh baked goods.

Special thanks to his neighbors Jennifer, Patrick, Mike and others for their support and friendship, and to Dr. Tong at Mad River Hospital for the care he gave Wes in his hospital stay.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Wes Ludwig’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.