Letter from the WEL President

On November 4th, 1983 my oldest brother Walter, suffering from depression, took his own life. My life changed forever. As a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, trying to deal with the loss and comprehend his action was difficult. Seven years later I lost another brother, Eddie, to the AIDS virus.

As the ten-year anniversary of Walter’s passing neared, I realized there must be a reason my family lost these two wonderful human beings. I knew that their deaths must have a purpose in life. My Aunt Betty told me that if Walter’s death could save another’s life, then his passing was meaningful, worth the pain and suffering my family had to experience. I knew something good must come from our loss.

In memory of my brother Eddie, the Edward Luedke Memorial Scholarship was established. It is awarded to a high school senior who has demonstrated excellence and are pursuing an education in the field of medicine or public health. That same year the Walter Luedke Memorial Golf Classic began, becoming an annual event. The proceeds raised from the golf outing are used to help worthy local causes and charities.

In order to better serve the community, I combined these two memorials to create a foundation in memory of both my brothers. In December 1999, New York State approved my application for a not-for-proftt corporation and the Walter and Edward Luedke (WEL) Memorial Foundation was established. Looking back, I know that my loss has touched the lives of many people. The pain and sorrow I have felt for over two decades has been eased knowing other lives have been helped.

John F. Luedke


The Walter and Edward Luedke Foundation (WEL FOUNDATION) is a corporation pursuant to section 42 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, State of New York. The WEL Foundation is a New York State approved 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Corporation. The Foundation was established to promote, further, and support selected charitable activities through grants, funding, and financial assistance to various individuals, institutions, and organizations.