Cover photo for Stanley Thomas Ledder, Jr.'s Obituary
Stanley Thomas Ledder, Jr. Profile Photo
1940 Tom 2024

Stanley Thomas Ledder, Jr.

December 5, 1940 — April 4, 2024

Westford

Stanley Thomas Ledder, Jr., 83, transitioned from this life on Thursday, April 4, in Care One, Concord. Tom was born in Elizabeth, NJ, on December 5, 1940 to Stanley Thomas, Sr. and Violetta Ledder. When he was 14, the family moved from Elizabeth to North Plainfield, NJ, where Tom graduated from North Plainfield High School before attending college.


The life of blonde, flat-topped “Tom”, a Fairleigh Dickinson University sophomore, changed forever in September 1959 when his path crossed with incoming freshman, Dianne. The two passed often on campus that first week of classes until a mixer dance at the end of the week. Tom stood on one side of Dreyfus Hall with Dianne on the other side, until Tom found nerve enough to cross the floor and ask Dianne for the very last dance of the night. From that moment their lives for the next 65 years were intertwined in the dance of life.


Tom graduated with a BS in Industrial Management. He worked for US Rubber in Passaic, NJ, while waiting for Dianne to complete her education. They married on June 1, 1963, the Saturday after Dianne completed her exams. After a weekend honeymoon in Atlantic City they moved into their first house in Scotch Plains, NJ. They spent the next 56 years in Scotch Plains where they raised their three children, Tracey, Erik and Scott.


While in high school, Tom threw the javelin for North Plainfield’s track team. He continued to score points with the javelin for FDU’s track team while studying, and working 40 hours a week at Bowcraft Amusement Park where he started to work as a high school freshman. One of his responsibilities was to fit ski bindings but he never once joined the other employees when Ted Miller, Bowcraft’s owner, closed the shop every Wednesday to take them all skiing.


Dianne joined Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church where Tom was a member and where he eventually became a member for over 60 years. He served the congregation as a Sunday School teacher, youth group chaperone, Deacon and Elder. He earned the nickname “Mr. Coffee” because he prepared the coffee for the after-service coffee hour while Dianne warmed up with the choir prior to the worship service. With another parishioner, Tom organized the annual Plainfield/North Plainfield CROP Walk for many years.


The Ledder house hosted many teenagers as Tom guided them in the benefits of running and weightlifting. These healthy activities were often followed by a swim in the pool, Russian Tea, pizza and/or Jim Dandy sundaes. Though Tom had little interest in sports other than track and field, he was faced with the possibility that his son would not have a soccer team unless someone volunteered to coach. Knowing nothing about soccer, Tom joined with another dad to coach. He soon learned the nuances of the game and coached recreation soccer teams for a number of years, enjoying every minute, win or lose. Games, too, were often followed by a swim in the pool and pizza.


Dianne spent her early summers with her family in a cabin on the Delaware River North of the Delaware Water Gap. She introduced Tom to the pleasure of hiking New Jersey’s Appalachian Trail from the river to Sunfish Pond. Many fun occasions were spent with extended family on the banks of the Delaware, but Tom preferred the warmth and relatively bug free atmosphere of ocean beaches. The two spent many of their days off while dating at beaches on the Jersey shore. They spent fifty summer vacations with family and friends, sometimes as many as 60, at a beach in Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.


One of Tom’s employments was production manager with a company that extruded plastic bags. He met Floyd Feldman, in sales, there. The two decided they could run their own company and opened Bag Packaging, a plastic bag sales company, in 1968. Luanne, a bag extrusion company, came later and operated until 1997. Tom and Floyd continued Bag Packaging until Floyd’s death in 2012, after which Tom and one other employee, Glenda Plungis, ran Bag Packaging until 2022 when the company officially closed.


Around 2014 Tom knew something wasn’t right. He attended a seminar, dealing with memory, at the local YMCA. Run by doctors from a clinic that was conducting Alzheimer’s drug trials, the seminar was recruiting volunteers to take part in these trials. Tom applied and took the required tests. The good news was that he could take part in the trials. The bad news? Tom had the indicators of dementia. He participated for two years and at the beginning of the third was told the trial was being discontinued because the medicine didn’t work. Knowing that family members would be called upon in the future, Tom and Dianne moved from their lifelong residency in New Jersey to live closer to their son, Erik, and his family in Westford in 2019. In their first year in Westford, they found two sources of friendship and support – The Cameron Senior Center and the Congregational Church of Littleton.


When it became clear that dementia had progressed to a point where expert care was needed, Tom was admitted to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and from there, to residency in Care One, Concord. Tom appeared asleep when he was transferred from Lawrence Memorial to Care One on March 26. It was a sleep from which he never awoke. He transitioned on the morning of Thursday, April 4, while in the compassionate care of the Care One staff as Dianne spent every day at his side.


Tom is survived by Dianne, his wife of 61 years; daughter, Tracey Ledder, of Albany, NY, and her daughter, Eleanore Falck; son Erik, Westford, and his family, wife Sarah, daughter, Devyn and son Braeden; and youngest son, Scott, currently of Nashville, TN. He also leaves a sister, Janet Ledder of Asheville, NC and numerous cousins.


A service of celebration of Tom’s life will be held at the Congregational Church of Littleton, 330 King Street/Route 110, Littleton, MA, at 11:00 on Saturday, May 18. A luncheon will follow during which attendees are encouraged to share their memories of Tom.


Should you wish to honor Tom’s life, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (act.alz.org), the Cameron Senior Center (20 Pleasant Street, Westford, MA  01886) or the Congregational Church of Littleton (330 King Street, Littleton, MA  01460.)

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 18, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Congregational Church of Littleton

330 King Street, Littleton, MA 01460

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