Not only has Dr. William Henry Luedde gained prominence in his profession, medicine and surgery, in St. Louis, but has also made valuable contribution to many projects based upon the needs of the community and the opportunity for civic betterment and progress. His life story had its beginning August 13, 1876, at Warsaw, Illinois, within one mile of the northeast corner of Missouri, the state in which he has since found his field of service. His grandfather, Peter Luedde, arrived at Alexandria, Missouri, in the spring of 1854, after a precarious voyage in a sailing vessel from Bremen, Germany, to New Orleans, bringing his wife and only son, three years of age. The family soon moved across the Mississippi to Warsaw, Illinois, where his son, Henry J. M. Luedde, later entered the banking business and became a citizen of prominence and influence, filling the office of mayor for five terms, elected on the republican ticket, and for the last two terms without opposition. He married Emelie M. Naumann, descendant from English, Quaker, Scotch and German ancestry in Pennsylvania. Her father was Rev. Philip Naumann, a minister of the German Methodist church, well known in Central Illinois and throughout the St. Louis conference.
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Dr. Luedde attended the public schools of his native city, graduating from the high school with the class of 1893. He then entered a drug store as employe, remaining until 1896, when he entered upon preparation for the practice of medicine. Later he attended Washington University Medical School of St. Louis, where he completed his course in 1900 and was awarded the Gill prize. In the same year he was appointed assistant physician at the City Hospital of St. Louis and devoted the period from 1901 to 1904 to special study of Ophthalmology in the office of Dr. John Green, M. H. Post and A. E. Ewing. During the years 1904-1906 he took special postgraduate courses at the University of Kiel, Germany, and at the Laboratoire d’ Ophtalmologie at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, and also attended clinics in London, England, Utrecht and Vienna. He has been a close and discriminating student of his profession, utilizing every opportunity that would broaden his knowledge and promote his efficiency. After his return from Europe in 1906 he became associated with the late Dr. John Green, a connection that was continued until the erection of the Metropolitan building, when Dr. Luedde opened an office therein and has since engaged in private practice, save for the priod of his war service. In 1911 he served as president of the City Hospital Alumni Society and in 1916 was vice president of the St. Louis Medical Society. He is a member of the Missouri State and American Medical Associations, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Oto-Laryngology, of the American Ophthalmological Society and of the Societe Francaise d’ Ophtalmologie and the International Congress of Ophthalmology, 1909 and 191i. He became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1915 and was the first secretary of the Missouri Section, Clinical Congress of Surgeons, organized 1920.
Long before America entered the World war Dr. Luedde was commissioned a first lieutenant of the Medical Reserve Corps, United States army, becoming thus connected with the army upon invitation of the surgeon general, in April, 1911. He was secretary of the St. Louis Society, Officers Medical Reserve Corps, from 1911 to 1917. On the 15th of February of the latter year he was appointed president of the examining board of the Medical Reserve Corps at St. Louis by Surgeon General Gorgas and in April following was promoted to captain of the Medical Reserve Corps. On the 20th of May, 1917, he was assigned to the Twelfth Engineer Regiment and in June, 1917, was assigned to full duty as medical examiner of St. Louis and relieved from duty with the Twelfth Engineers on account of illness disqualifying him for foreign service at that time. In October, 1917, he was promoted to major of the Medical Reserve Corps and was assigned by the surgeon general and the Council of National Defense to additional duty as executive secretary of the Missouri committee of the Council of National Defense, medical section, and made responsible for enrollment of physicians in the army and for the organization of the county auxiliary medical defense committee throughout the state. On the 20th of December, 1918, he was honorably discharged with the rank of major. In 1919 he was appointed consultant of the United States Marine Hospital and later of the United States Public Health Service, Hospital No. 35, while in June of the same year he was commissioned surgeon of the United States Public Health Service (Reserve). He has closely studied many of the problems which are of vital interest in advancing public health conditions and in safeguarding the community in every possible way and has contributed articles on a score of subjects to the medical press. Dr. Luedde has been chairman of the committee for prevention of blindness under the direction of the Missouri Commission for the Blind since its organization about ten years ago, and is a member of the advisory board of the National Committee for Prevention of Blindness.
In 1909 Dr. Luedde was married to Miss Nettie B. Shryock, daughter of Fullerton W. Shryock, late president of the Smith-Davis Manufacturing Company, and they have three children: Philip Shryock; and twins, Fullerton Woods and Henry William. Both Dr. and Mrs. Luedde come from ancestry loyal in the American Revolution and belong to the St. Louis Chapters of Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, respectively. Dr. Luedde was organizing chairman of Walter Reed Post, later called the Lloyd R. Boutwell Post, No. 138, American Legion. lie belongs to the Missouri Officers Association, Academy of Science, University Club, Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. and A. M. and was chairman and organizer of the public health section of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce. His ideals are high and he has embraced every opportunity to make them an effective working force in the world.