Louise H. “Luisa” Kuhn of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Quogue, NY passed away peacefully on Friday, August 11, 2023.
She is survived by her four children and their spouses, George L. Degener IV (Veronique), Paul H. Degener, Alexandra Kuhn Bower (Stephen) and Stephen B. Kuhn (Leslie), as well as her 10 grandchildren, George Degener V, Kyle Degener, Katherine Degener, Liam Degener, Robert Bower, Molly Bower, Alyssa Kuhn, Peter Kuhn, Willa Kuhn, and Nicholas Kuhn, and by her brother Hartley “Mike” Hegeler. Luisa was predeceased by her first husband, George L. Degener III in 1955 and her second husband, Bowie K. Kuhn, who passed in 2007. A Memorial Service was held at Christ Church, Ponte Vedra; another will be held Saturday, August 26th at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Atonement in Quogue, NY.
Born in New York City in 1930 to Gladys and Hartley H. Hegeler, Luisa’s youth was spent in many locations, from Barbizon, France, to Ottawa, Canada to Villanova, Pennsylvania and to Quogue, NY. She became an articulate young adult who entered the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA in the early 1940s and attended prep school at Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, CT until she was married.
In 1950 Luisa married George L. Degener III, whom she had met growing up during summers in Quogue, NY. Both the Hegelers and Degeners had generations of family living in Quogue both year-around and for summers at the beach. George Degener III died in an auto accident in 1955. Then, in October 1956, Luisa married Bowie K. Kuhn, whom she also had met in Quogue. They were married at the Degener’s home in Millerton, NY.
Luisa and Bowie raised their four children at homes in Tuxedo Park, NY and later in Ridgewood, NJ. Bowie worked in New York City as an attorney for the firm of Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher while Luisa was extensively involved in her community and many school activities with their children.
Luisa was often referred to as the "first lady of Major League Baseball" after her husband Bowie was selected as the Commissioner of Baseball in 1969. They traveled to many baseball events in the U.S. and around the world. She served baseball as she did most things, with dignity and grace, meeting major league and minor league ballplayers and executives, as well as heads of state. Her wit and wisdom were admired throughout the baseball world. In 2008 Luisa joined Rich “Goose” Gossage and others at Bowie’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Luisa also traveled widely with Bowie to many religious sites including the Vatican, Lourdes in Southern France, and the Holy Land.
In 1991 Luisa and Bowie relocated to North Florida after Bowie’s retirement, settling at Marsh Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Luisa became extensively involved in community activities including the Friends of the Ponte Vedra Beach Library, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and the Players Championship golf tournament. She was also an active member of Ponte Vedra’s Christ Episcopal Church where she served on the Vestry, the Altar Guild, as a Lector, in Bible study groups and the Christ Church Foundation.
In the years following Bowie’s passing in 2007, Luisa continued to carry the torch for her love of baseball which led among other things to her being interviewed by the Jacksonville newspaper. The writer mentioned that “…the way she carried herself and spoke, reminded me of actresses from old films.” This echoed Bowie’s description of Luisa in his book, when he met her at a Quogue Field Club dance – “a startlingly attractive, tall brunette who rather reminded me of Rita Hayworth, … that beautiful movie actress.”
In 2009, Luisa moved to the Vicar’s Landing retirement community in Ponte Vedra Beach. She loved her Vicar’s apartment, the wonderful community of friends, the spirited bridge games, Vicar’s Landscape committee, the Duffield building committee and the Vicar’s film committee, choosing titles for their in-house movie network. While Luisa was always involved in activities in Florida, each summer she would travel north to her home in Quogue, NY to visit with her children and grandchildren.
Luisa Kuhn was a deeply religious person who celebrated her faith every day knowing “…that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, …shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). Please visit her online Tribute at www.quinn-shalz.com.