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Published: Friday, 4/8/2005

Candy firm exec was adept at sales

Richard C. Ludwig, 75, who used his sales skills to sell students and churchgoers on raising funds by peddling candy door-to-door, died of cancer Wednesday in Hope Hospice, Cape Coral, Fla.

Mr. Ludwig, formerly of South Toledo, was president of Seaway Candy Co., which he formed in 1960 with his brother, Arnie, who became vice president. Schools, church groups, scout troops, and the like sold $1 boxes of chocolates, chocolate mints, or chocolate-covered pretzels and got to keep half.

By the mid-1960s, Seaway was the largest firm in Ohio engaged exclusively in selling candy and other items for school and church fund-raisers.

He was a natural at sales, his brother said: "He never made enemies. He was always smiling and positive."

Seaway in 1969 opened a plant south of Chicago and began to make what it sold, with Richard in charge from Toledo of the national sales operation and Arnie in charge of manufacturing.

As society changed, parents became less willing to allow their children to travel door-to-door, his brother said. The Ludwigs sold the company in 1983.

Mr. Ludwig was a graduate of Libbey High School. He sold subscriptions to the Catholic Digest and, later, was a district manager and then national manager of sales. He put on programs to sell subscriptions in schools, which helped spark the idea for Seaway Candy, his brother said.

Mr. Ludwig and his wife, Kathryn, moved to Florida about 25 years ago.

He was a founding parishioner of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church.

Surviving are his wife, Kathryn, whom he married Feb. 5, 1949; daughters, Deborah Saba and Kimberly Rollmann; brother, Arnold Ludwig; sisters, Bea Winters and Luella Ludwig; eight grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coral Ridge Funeral Home, Cape Coral, Fla., from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday in St. Andrew Church, Cape Coral, of which he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to Hope Hospice or St. Andrew Church, both of Cape Coral.

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