Ann Louise (Poole) Bales-Ludwick (affectionately known as Annie) concluded her fascinating life on earth May 19, 2022.
Annie was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on January 4, 1944 to James and Catherine (Katie) Poole, the first of 5 siblings. The fact that she was born during WWII shaped a great deal of her core beliefs and character.
Annie married Jack Bales on April 29,1966 and on July 25, 1978 he tragically passed away. This would not be the last of the many trials, tribulations and transitions Annie would face throughout her life. Overnight she became a young widowed parent of a 7 year old daughter. Together with Jack’s partner they ran B&B Refuse Removal, a company they had started in 1968. The company was eventually sold to Waste Management, where she worked in sales until her retirement. It never deterred her from the success and notoriety she would earn in all of her endeavors during the following decades. She proved herself to be a smart business woman, community resource and a mentor to many. She was a recipient of the International Athena Award in 1996, honoring Women Leaders.
Annie was one of the first employees of the Governmental Credit Union, working in the basement of the Stanton house. She was proud of being an instrumental part of getting it off the ground “so to speak”.
She served on the Ionia Free Fair Board for 15 years followed by a seat held as Director Emeritus. Having held the title of Ionia Free Fair Queen in her youth, she often chided that it was not only her fate, but her duty to return the favor. For 10 days every summer she happily resided on the grounds putting out fires, organizing, entertaining and presiding over as many activities as humanly possible.
She was on the Prison Liaison Committee and President of the Local American Cancer Society. In the latter role she was not only effective, but became a role model to many as she had experienced the gravity of a cancer diagnosis personally throughout her life. The mainstay of Annie’s legacy is her amazing sense of humor, resilience, friendship and love of faith and family.
Annie leaves behind her husband, Pete Ludwick whom she married May 26, 2007; her daughter, Becca Bales-Usher; grandchildren, Caitie and Carl Usher; siblings, Carolee (Jeff) Macfarlane, James (Fran) Poole, Gail (Dan) Lower, Rick (Kim) Poole and all of their children; Pete’s children, Kim (Tom) Thelen, Kay Thelen, Kevin Ludwick and Kelly Ludwick and their children and grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her parents, Jim and Katie Poole; first husband, Jack Bales; and her mother and father-in-law, Irene and Howard Bales.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Darrel Kempf at 11:00 a.m., Monday, May 23, 2022 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Pewamo. The family will welcome friends on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. at the Lehman Funeral Homes, 220 Rich Street, Ionia. For those wishing, memorial contributions may be made to the Ionia Free Fair in honor of Annie. Online condolences may be made at www.lehmanfuneralhomes.com.
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