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Born in Fredericksburg on Jan. 3, 1935, to Gladys Blackley Ludlam and Howard Joseph Ludlam, Sonny lived most of his life in the Fredericksburg area. He graduated from Spotsylvania High School, where he lettered in four sports; he then attended the University of Virginia.
Sonny was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 26 and served for two years, primarily on a 13-month tour of duty in Korea, and then he served the remainder of the time at Fort Monroe. Sonny attained the rank of specialist 4th class and was appointed as an official U.S. Army correspondent, serving on the staff of the Bayonet and the Pacific edition of the Stars and Stripes.
Sonny worked for many years in newspaper and radio, as an advertising representative and photographer for The Free Lance–Star, as well as sales manager for WFLS Radio. True to his love of gospel music, he was also the host of the popular Stained Glass Reflections, a two-hour gospel radio program, which aired every Sunday morning on Thunder 104.5.
He was devoted to his family, but also to his community. Sonny was a long-time member and past Exalted Ruler of the BPOE 875 Elks Lodge. He had a life-long love for and commitment to bluegrass music and served as promoter of the Bluegrass Festival at Graves Mountain for 19 years. If there was gospel or bluegrass music playing at Mr. B’s Park or Mr. B’s Restaurant, you can be sure Sonny was there. He also worked diligently promoting the Fredericksburg Fair. Sonny was not only a charter member of the Fredericksburg Civil War Round Table but also a charter member of the National Sportswriters–Sportscasters Association. Furthermore, he was founder of the Greater Fredericksburg Sports Club and he co-founded Spotsylvania Little League Football with Charlie Graves and Buddy Embrey. Sonny coached and refereed a variety of sports for the Fredericksburg-area youth, including football and basketball. He was a larger-than-life person who lived life to the very fullest.
Sonny is survived by his sister Joanne Ludlam Graves; his niece, Janice Page Graves; and nephew Charles L. “Chuck” Graves Jr., his wife, Tracy, and their children, Daniel and Haley.
He was predeceased by his brother-in-law, Charles Leslie Graves; his sister Patricia Boyd Wallace; his father, Howard Joseph Ludlam, who died when Sonny was 3- years old; his mother, Gladys Blackley Ludlam Brame; and his stepfather, William David Brame.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 9, at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at the funeral home chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Elks Lodge 875 Youth Camp, 11309 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408.
Online guest book is at covenantfuneralservice.com.