October 26, 1957 - June 13, 2021
Sylvia Ruth Ludwig of Beloit, Kansas, died suddenly at her home on June 13, 2021. Sylvia was born on October 26, 1957, the fourth child and only daughter of Ruth and Max Ludwig. Though she was the youngest, it didn’t take long for her to keep up with big brothers Brian, Roger, and Lee, who often referred to her as the best athlete in the family.
Sylvia was active in several sports in high school, excelling in all of them. After graduating from Kansas State University in 1979, she spent six years teaching and coaching at Clifton-Clyde Middle and Grade School. Sylvia returned to Beloit in 1988 as a physical education teacher and volleyball coach at Beloit Jr. and Senior High School. Sylvia later earned her master’s degree of education from Fort Hays University and retired from teaching in 2016.
Sylvia was the best of many things to many people: daughter, sister, wife, aunt, friend, teacher, coach. Fiercely loyal and caring, she touched the lives of all she met. Often described as “one of my all-time favorite people), Sylvia would light up the room with her bright smile and warm hugs. She also entertained her golfing and domino buddies with her competitive spirit and love of the games.
She was genuinely interested in how you were. Nieces and former students would often receive handwritten notes (always on legal pad paper) including a thoughtful book or memento. Known as “Coach Lud” or just “Lud,” Syl continued to encourage her former athletes long after they left high school.
Nothing brought Sylvia more joy than her family. She was only ten when her oldest brother Brian was paralyzed in a college football game. Sylvia became Brian’s biggest fan—and “volunteer” coaching assistant—when Brian returned to teach and coach at St. John’s High School. She and her family spent many hours around the kitchen table, telling stories, playing games, but mostly just enjoying each other’s company.
Sylvia was the consummate caretaker of not only Brian, but later her dad and mom as they aged and experienced health issues. She always put the needs of others before her own and Roger and Lee would agree that Syl was the family’s “go-to.”
Sylvia relished her role as the fun aunt. She would jokingly tell her nieces to “go play in traffic,” and shared everything from flying kites to giving them drink tickets when they would later travel together. Her family will always treasure the many memories of vacations with Aunt Syl. You would often find her awake early, Diet Coke in hand, purple K-State gear on, ready for a challenging game of Scrabble (which she would almost certainly win).
Seventeen years ago, the most important event of Sylvia’s life occurred when she met Colleen McKeon, who brought her untold happiness. Syl and Colleen enjoyed life to the fullest: golfing, traveling, and watching endless sports programming. They gave each other a love that neither one knew was possible. Sylvia and Colleen were married on June 8, 2019 and had just returned from a Colorado road trip celebrating their second wedding anniversary.
Sylvia made all of our lives better. Her death leaves a huge void for all who knew and loved her. But how she did love us.
Sylvia was preceded in death by her brother Brian, parents Max and Ruth, and sister-in-law Martha Ludwig. She is survived by wife Colleen McKeon of the home; Colleen’s daughter Heather McKeon of Omaha, Ne.; brother Roger Ludwig of Kearney, Ne.; brother Lee (Patrice) Ludwig, Shawnee, Ks.; niece Samantha Malone (Shawn), Kearney, Ne.; niece Amy Anderson , Kearney, Ne.; niece Barbara Jurgensmeier (Andy), Kansas City, Mo.; niece Caroline Maher (Cory), Overland Park, Ks.; niece Kathleen Rush (Joe), Shawnee, Ks.; niece Kelsey Ludwig, Roeland Park, Ks, as well as countless cousins, great nieces and nephews, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Sylvia’s name made be sent to the American Diabetes Association.
Private family services will take place. A public celebration of life will take place starting at Noon on Thursday at the Down Under. Friends may sign the register book from 9 AM to 5 PM Wednesday at the Roberts Family Funeral Home.