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Longtime Carroll County Register of Wills employee given proper retirement send-off amid coronavirus pandemic

Bonnie Ludwig, center, reacts a she receives a send-off following her retirement from the Carroll County Register of Wills in Westminster Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Celebrating with Ludwig are, from left, Diana Albert, Kelley Hooker, Lynn Brewer, Erin Stickles, Linda Danner and Bonnie's husband Buzz Ludwig.
Bonnie Ludwig, center, reacts a she receives a send-off following her retirement from the Carroll County Register of Wills in Westminster Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Celebrating with Ludwig are, from left, Diana Albert, Kelley Hooker, Lynn Brewer, Erin Stickles, Linda Danner and Bonnie's husband Buzz Ludwig.(Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

About 40 people gathered outside the courthouse in Westminster, at a proper distance from each other, to give the senior deputy of Carroll County Register of Wills a proper send-off to start her retirement.

Bonnie Ludwig worked for the state of Maryland for 28 years; 21 years at the Carroll Register of Wills and seven with the state retirement system.

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It was Talara Kumrow, the mother of one of Ludwig’s coworkers, who arranged the send-off after seeing a Facebook post about Ludwig’s approaching retirement date.

“She was like, ‘To know that my last day, I’ll be walking out by myself with nobody to say goodbye to or send hugs’ or anything like that because of what was going on with the coronavirus, because at that time everything was really strict,” said Kumrow. “I just cried when I read it and said that is very sad to put all those years in and then leave without being able to see anybody."

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Kumrow talked to her daughter, who works with Ludwig, to arrange to have people meet Ludwig outside, at a social distance, to let her know they were thinking about her.

Coworkers and friends gathered outside Ludwig’s office on her last day with balloons and posters, leaving her completely surprised.

“I did not expect anything,” said Ludwig. “I didn’t really expect any celebration because the courthouse is closed to the public and I expected on my last day that I would walk out and that once the pandemic is over, the court houses opened again, the girls have already assured me that we would have an open house there which we’ve always done for retired people.

"But on that day, I was totally surprised by this group of people out in the parking lot.”

Kumrow said Ludwig told her that she had’t been surprised like that since her 16th birthday.

According to Ludwig, in her position, she did estate work and she had to probate the wills of deceased people. She described it as a “very stressful job."

According to Ludwig her favorite part of her position was her coworkers.

“We have such a close relationship that they’re like family,” said Ludwig.

Ludwig said she decided to retire because she reached retirement age. She celebrated her 66th birthday Sunday.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I’m retiring because I’m going to miss these people that I’ve been with for so long but I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life," said Ludwig.

It was her ability to connect with others that made her so good at her job, according to Ludwig.

“To kind of say what my boss always said, I’m able to find a common thread with just about anyone and that makes them feel more comfortable talking with me,” said Ludwig. “I’m compassionate.”

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Like many, Ludwig planned to use her retirement to travel but that has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She actually had a trip planned to go to Florida that she was looking forward to, but was unable to go because of current circumstances. She also wants to spend more time with her grandchildren. But, for now, she spends most of her time cooking and reading.

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