Giving to Remember

December 8, 2017
Roy Ludwig

Gunner Roy Frank Ludwig
Courtesy of Doreen Motz

A gentle smile, the cap set at a jaunty angle, a twinkle in his eye. The photo was meant to help Roy Ludwig’s young children know their dad was thinking about them as he served overseas during the Second World War. He wrote hundreds of letters to his family in Kitchener, Ontario, describing his homesickness and the endless training. J. Doreen Motz kept her father’s photo on her pillow for years. Roy shipped out when Doreen was just three years old; she was eight when he was killed on June 9, 1944, in the fighting that followed the D-Day invasion.

Keeping her father’s memory alive isn’t difficult for Doreen, but she’s mindful of how to pass his legacy along to her children and grandchildren. She’s spoken at Remembrance Day events at elementary schools. She was the first of her family to visit Roy’s grave in at the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France. And every year since 2009, she’s given generously to the Canadian War Museum in memory of her father.

Doreen credits the War Museum with sparking her search for some key pieces of her father’s legacy. She shared her father’s story with a Museum volunteer who asked, “Do you have his medals?” Doreen hadn’t thought to look, but she located the medals and they now occupy a place of honour beside the treasured photograph.

Doreen says she donates to remember her mother as well, who was left with three small children to raise on her own. The War Museum has highlighted women’s wartime roles and the effects of war on women in recent exhibitions and programming.

Doreen manages her annual tribute donation online, which she says is both easy and efficient. Her donation not only helps fund Museum programs and artifact acquisitions, it becomes a jumping off point for Doreen to talk about her father with others, including her grandchildren. “The older you get,” Doreen says, “the better you remember.”