Iris V. (Bolton) Ludwig, 94, Santa Claus


Iris V. (Bolton) Ludwig, 94, of Santa Claus, passed away on the morning of May 2, 2023, after suffering the effects of dementia for the last 11 ½ years.

She was born in Evansville on June 3, 1928, to Arizona J. “Jack” Bolton and Augusta M. (Theiring) Bolton. Her older half-brother, Roy Bolton, was very glad to have a sister, even if she wasn’t the puppy he had hoped for. The family moved to Spencer County in the summer of 1945. Iris graduated from Dale High School in 1946. After meeting a handsome Army Air Corps 2nd Lieutenant, Charles Ludwig, she knew he would be a very good father for the children she hoped to have. They were joined in marriage on April 12, 1947, at the Lincoln City EUB Church.

Being a farm wife and mother to three children came first in her life for several years. Then, as the children got older, she went to work at Dale High School as a teacher’s assistant and library helper. Her next job was as Dr. Joseph Antonini’s receptionist and dental assistant. Then, she found the career she would retire from after 20+ years of service, manager of the Dale License Branch.

In her spare time, she taught Sunday school, sang in church and community choirs, and led church youth group and 4H club. At different times, she was a member of Home Ec Club and Christmas Lake Village Garden Club. She was a member of the Lincoln Club for more than 50 years. As Lincoln Club president in the late 1970s and through much of the 1980s, her leadership was instrumental in the club’s biggest achievement to date, fundraising for and helping establish the Lincoln Ampitheatre. Her namesake flower was a particular favorite, as were angels. She also enjoyed hosting gatherings for friends and family, reading, traveling the US, baking, sewing and watching Colts football. Over the last 20 years, her greatest joy was being “GiGi” to six great-grandchildren. She was looking forward to welcoming great-grandchild number seven in June.

Surviving are her three children, Carol (Rex) Edwards of Brown County, Barbara (Dean) Finecy of Santa Claus and Paul (Linda) Ludwig of Indianapolis; eight grandchildren: Christy Finecy of Santa Claus, Carolyn Finecy of Gibson County, Charlie Finecy of Cathedral City, CA, Kari Albertson of Nineveh, Kacey (Leslie) Edwards of Clarksville, Jacob (Leah) Ludwig of Indianapolis, Cole Ludwig of Fishers and Connor (Kylie) Ludwig of Brownsburg; six great-grandchildren, Hunter Leslie of Louisville, KY, Blake Leslie, Levi and Korban Albertson of Trafalgar, Haley Ludwig of Brownsburg and Thomas Ludwig of Indianapolis; cousins, Hazelee (Larry) Reichel of Massilon, OH, Tom (Linda) Theiring, Terri Byers of Greenwood, Reggie (SoYoung) Williams of Equador and Chad (Cindy) Williams of Gardiner, ME; seven nieces, Evelyn Adams of Tobinsport, Elizabeth Lockridge of Evansville, Mary (Dennis) Begle of Dale, Sandy (Carl) Forston, Patti (Ray) Pulley, Joyce Bolton, and Kathy (Don) Spellmeyer, all of Gentryville; many great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 64 years, Charles; her beloved half-brother, Roy (Helen) Bolton; and sisters-in-law, Ruth (Raleigh) Taylor and Lolomi (Hubert) Lindauer.

Fuller Funeral Home in Dale handled the cremation. Iris’s ashes will be interred next to her husband at Santa Claus Cemetery in a private ceremony. A Celebration of Life will take place on what would have been her 95th birthday, June 3, at Santa Claus United Methodist Church. Lunch will be at 11 a.m. and the party will start at 1 p.m.

The family wishes to express their sincere thanks to Heart to Heart Hospice for helping Christy, Barbara and Dean take care of Iris these last 15 months. They also extend their gratitude to the staff at Willowdale Village in Dale for looking after her in her last 12 days.

Memorial donations may be made to Noel UMC of Santa Claus or the Historic Santa Claus Campground.