Ludene A. Whitman

January 24, 1940 ~ December 21, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Ludene A. Whitman Obituary

Sweet Ludene (Lu) Whitman (Harrington) was born on a cold
winter's night in Oklahoma to Loretta Faye Harrington and Jay Matthews.
The date was, 1-24-1940. She had one brother, Raymond Matthews
(deceased). Lu's life was never what one would call easy but, her fiery
spirit and lovely red hair never shown brighter than when the chips were

Lu passed away somewhat unexpectedly on, 12-21-2023, at the
age of 83 while in Kaiser Hospital in Modesto, California, not far from her
home in Manteca. She had valiantly fought off lung cancer twice and had
been given a clean bill of health just one day before her death.
Unfortunately, the good news of her clean cancer scan came as Lu was
about to enter surgery for a broken hip suffered the day before. It looked
as if Ludene had beaten the odds yet again when, within hours after what
was deemed a successful hip repair by her doctors, Lu suddenly took a
turn for the worse and passed away. Her two daughters, Debra Pavone
(Martinez), and Linda Martinez where there at her bedside when she
passed. Her son, Richard Kessler, was also present.
Ludene and her first husband, Morris Martinez, had their first
child, Debra while still in high school. That was 05-29-1957. Typical of Lu,
though only 17 at the time, it didn't stop her from finishing high school by
attending night classes. Having no choice but to do things the hard way
at times in her life, Lu was never deterred from reaching her goals once
she set her sights on a target. Three years later, on 06-12-1960, Ludene
and her husband had their second child, Linda. Her third child, Rick, was
born to Lu and her second husband, Walter Kessler, four years later on
04-24-64. After divorcing her second husband, Lu spent several years as
a hard working, single mom of three kids. She relied heavily on the love
and support of her Mother, Loretta Faye, and "Faye's" husband, Arthur
Enos while she started her long and very successful career as a Document
Control Specialist at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Sunnyvale
Patsy Kimbal, Lu's life long dear friend, remembers those years:
"We'd take our kids to the beach and Lu and I would sit and talk for hours.
Two single mom's struggling together, kids all lined up, similar ages. It
bonded us forever. I remember Lu commenting when two middle aged,
heavy set women, walked past us on the beach, 'You see those two, Patsy,
that's us before you know it!' We would take the six kids between us to a
drive-in movie, but we each drove our own cars. That way we could pile
the kids in one, and Lu and I would watch the movie in peace in the other."
It was at Lockheed that Ludene eventually met the love of her life,
Jack Whitman. Jack was an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed. He had
five kids, four boys and one girl, and Lu, as mentioned, had three… And
then, there were eight. And eight, was definitely, more than enough. Not
exactly a match made in heaven but, that didn't stop them.
It was summer of 1970 when Ludene and Jack decided to get
married. Jack had custody of the three oldest of his five children, Robert,
14, David 12 (deceased), and Theodore "Teddy" (deceased) all of 10 years
old and very vulnerable. Jack's youngest children, Janet, 9 and Thomas, 5
years old, continued to live with their mother, Jack's ex-wife, Jean
Whitman. When the gang all joined forces, everybody, Lu's three children
included, went collectively into a prolonged state of shock from which nary
a one of them fully recovered.
Some time later, Jack's daughter, Janet, also came to live with Lu
and Jack. Janet was at the tender age of 13 years old. A difficult
transition in any young girl's life. Lu was more than happy to oblige and
took Janet under her wing. Because of Lu's deep love and commitment to
Janet, when she needed it the most, Janet and Lu continued their very
special relationship for the rest of Lu's life.
Janet remembers: "Ludene was resilient. I watched her ebb and
flow through joyful moments, difficult times and extremely painful
moments. She always seemed to stay in control, going through her
emotions quietly. She would shine brightest when Dad would come home
with a new money-making ('Megabuck') endeavor. They had a gaming
business, a trucking business, and a storage business to name a few. So,
along with Ludene holding a very important position with Lockheed, she
became a gamer, a trucker, and an antique enthusiast! And through it all
never a complaint to Dad, or a hard time about his next big adventure.
Through Ludene I learned first hand that resiliency is so important
to living a good life. I think of her often when I cope with life's events both
good and bad and will continue to lean on her for inspiration."
Ludene took the whole rowdy gang on as her own. That's just
who she was. A tough, caring, kind, determined, hard working career
woman, but most of all, loving mother of eight. She handled it all with
grace, humor, an occasional Scotch and water, and a laugh that tickled
your heart and encouraged you to join in.
Ludene was thrifty. Although some would argue "thrifty" is a
generous term for Ludene's insistence that she was always one step from
the poor house. You might label it, "Great Depression Era" thinking,
except for the fact that Lu was born well after the Great Depression. To
further clarify, Lu was "thrifty" when it came to practical issues, but
extravagantly generous when it came to matters of the heart. She would
give you the shirt off her back but, there was no guarantee the shirt would
last very long. In fact, Lu and Jack were both very successful in their
careers and despite the struggles to raise eight kids, they enjoyed life to
the fullest, collected lots of toys, and ultimately retired well. They loved to
travel in their motor home, take cruises to the Caribbean Islands and
beyond, and throw a good party. For Ludene, family was everything. Lu
lost her husband Jack, and her mother Faye, within a year and a half of
each other and she never did quite recover.
For lack of a kinder word equally apropos, Ludene was stubborn.
But she knew it and considered it one of her finest qualities. And she
could laugh about it. When she would come up with a crazy idea, and ten
people would explain to her how illogical or impractical it was, she would
inevitably respond: "I know, you're right, but I still like my way better".
Then she would throw her head back and laugh, and you couldn't help but
laugh with her. Her son-in-law, Mike, husband to her oldest daughter
Debbie once said: "Ludene can be, without question, one of the most
infuriating people I know, but… somehow, we always end up giggling."           
            Just before she died, Lu got the idea in her head that she either
wanted a new car, which she didn't need, or a new couch, which she
desperately did — but was torn on which to choose. She presented her
dilemma to her kids who all agreed she could afford both quite easily to
which, after a good four seconds of deep thought, she exclaimed, "Okay,
I'm going to buy a bidet!"
Ludene loved to sew, cook, garden, travel, and revel in big family
gatherings… And in the end, she adored her dog and loyal companion,
Molly. She will be sorely missed and hopefully, deservedly appreciated to
the fullest now that she has passed. She was so kind, to so many.
Ludene Whitman's service will be held at the Angles Camp
Mortuary on 01/19/2024 at 11:00 AM. A Celebration of her life will follow
at the VFW, 156 W. St. Charles, San Andreas, California, 95249

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Graveside Service
January 19, 2024

11:00 AM
Altaville Protestant Cemetery
228 Monte Verda St
Angels Camp, CA 95222


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