Kurt Robert Luedtke was born to Karl and Sue (Lyon) Luedtke on July 15, 1956 in Kenosha, Wisconsin and passed away early last week. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1974 and from Michigan State University in 1980, earning a civil engineering degree. In that year Kurt married his high school sweetheart Kelene Fairchild, and they moved to Washington State and Northern California for his work. In 1984 Kurt moved back home and started working for Luedtke Engineering Company, eventually becoming President and co-owner with his brother Paul. During his distinguished professional career, he served as President and Small Business Chairman of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) and worked on numerous task forces as a leader for dredging and environmental stewardship on the Great Lakes. Kurt was an esteemed and well respected member the dredging community with many colleagues viewing him as both an industry associate and friend.
In his hometown of Frankfort, Michigan, Kurt was known as a man-about-town and never tired of supporting local businesses across Benzie County and the local government. He served as a Frankfort City Council Member from 1991-1999 and had served on the Betsie Lake Utility Authority since 1999 and the Zoning Board of Appeals since 2006. Kurt loved Frankfort and was proud to play an active role in the progress that had been made over recent decades.
Kurt brought a genuine childlike love to almost everything he did as a collector, hobbyist, and supportive father. No endeavor was too big or too small for Kurt, whether it was supporting his daughter’s school endeavors in sports, drama, or Odyssey of the Mind, rebuilding classic Lionel Trains, or helping organize a big music event.
Kurt was perhaps most well known for keeping the Luedtke family tradition alive as an avid Green Bay Packers fan. He was also a proud Michigan State University Spartan alumnus, maintaining lifelong college friendships and attending various sporting events every season. Kurt was also seen at Frankfort Panther sporting events cheering on the Purple and Gold his entire life.
Finally, Kurt was also well known locally for his love of music and was the bass player in the Sub-Prime Blues Band and the Standing Hamptons. He frequently supported open mic nights and most major music events across Benzie County in recent years. While Kurt rarely looked to put himself in the spotlight, he absolutely loved to play in front of a crowd on a beautiful night.
Kurt lived his life to the fullest and focused on the people and passions he loved. He will be remembered for his affable, generous, and just plain goofy nature. If there ever were a person who could be described as “an all-around great guy,” it was Kurt Luedtke.
Kurt will be tremendously missed by not only his family but also the entire Frankfort community. He is survived by his wife Kelene Luedtke-Fairchild, cherished daughter Jacqueline Luedtke Borozan (Chris), loving mother Sue Lyon Luedtke, siblings Paul (Tootie), Alan (Jean), and Ann Loveless (Steve), and nine nieces and nephews and their extended families.
On behalf of the DCA and all your dredging friends, we will sincerely miss you Kurt and will cherish the memories.