The Montgomery County Free Clinic is named in honor of Dr. Mary Ludwig. Her vision for this community clinic, as well as her genuine desire to help all members of this community, continue to inspire our work.
Mary Grace Del Torto was born in New York in 1926. She was raised in a tight-knit Italian community and graduated from The College of New Rochelle in 1944 with a degree in science. She worked in laboratories, including at Sloan-Kettering Institute in cancer research. She went on to medical school at the University of Virginia, where she met Paul Ludwig, her future husband. They graduated from medical school together in 1958. The couple moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana a few years later, where Paul began practicing as an opthalmologist and Dr. Mary began working as a pediatrician for the Christian Nursing Service’s Well Baby Clinic in a small Presbyterian church on Mill Street.
“Life is action and passion. It is required of us that we share in the action and passion of our time; otherwise, we will be judged not to have lived.” – Chief Justice Holmes
Dr. Mary volunteered her entire career for families in need. “I never had the heart to charge people, and fortunately, my husband supported me in that endeavor.” CNS became the Montgomery County Free Clinic in 2012, carrying on the tradition of volunteer medical services. The clinic building was named for Dr. Mary. At the ribbon-cutting for the new clinic, Dr. Mary stated that “My very first hero was Chief Justice Holmes, who said that ‘Life is action and passion. It is required of us that we share in the action and passion of our time; otherwise, we will be judged not to have lived.’ “
Dr. Mary was beloved to generations of families in Montgomery County. She received many awards for service, including being named Montgomery County Citizen of the Year in 1972, Rotary International Fellow in 1981, Indiana Jefferson Award in 1983, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wabash College in 1984 from her friend and then-president, Lew Salter. She was made a Sagamore of the Wabash in 2007, one of Indiana’s highest honors. Of all her accomplishments, she was proudest of her family—their children Will, Wendy, Amy, and Julie, and her marriage of 59 years to Paul. Dr. Mary passed away in February of 2016, and Dr. Paul died in October 2017.
To learn more about Dr. Mary Ludwig, read this article, originally published in Wabash Magazine. To hear more from Dr. Mary Ludwig in her own words, please play the following audio clip.