Obituary: Joanne G. Kuhns

Joanne G. Kuhns was born in Madison on Sept. 28, 1931. She died in Egg Harbor on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Joanne was the daughter of Mary Durlin Guenther and Joseph Heibl, and the adopted daughter of Winfried Guenther. She was married to Bill (William R.) Kuhns, who died March 16, 2011. Joanne is survived by her four children, David (Marijke), Sara (Jennifer), Roger (Anne), and Jeanne; her seven grandchildren, Matthew (Melissa), Madeleine, Eli (Christy), Marybeth (Seth), Jacob, Andrew (Katrina), and Alyssa; and her seven great-grandchildren, Marley, Alice, Sophia, Grace, Aletta, Avery, and Amelia.

Joanne passed peacefully at her daughter’s home in Egg Harbor surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

Joanne was an avid and experienced bird watcher, naturalist, community advocate, and committed social activist. She was an amateur anthropologist, a lover of antiques, history, and science. Joanne loved to interview people no matter the person or pursuit, and many friends were met this way and stayed closely involved in the family. Her infinite curiosity about life built a family of scientists, musicians, writers and artists. In Door County, Joanne was a longtime member of the Red Tent Ladies, whom she dearly loved, and a participant in the League of Women Voters, where she worked towards the furthering of fundamental rights. Joanne was well known throughout the Door County community as “the ticket lady” at the Woodwalk Concert series. She loved being there for her friends and was particularly talented as a listener, endlessly fascinated and moved by other peoples’ stories and experiences. She had a passion for travel and visited her children wherever they lived or worked around the world. Joanne was known for her wonderful laugh; her infectious giggling would draw people in to talk about the curious and quirky, often over a morning cup of coffee. When her children were young, the family lived in Prospect Heights, Illinois, where Joanne was active in the PTA, Artists’ Guild, The Better Homes and Cookies Ladies, and other community actions. She founded and managed her “Sprouts” business, growing and delivering alfalfa sprouts to Chicago-area restaurants. With her husband Bill, her lifelong love and partner in all adventures, she was the co-editor of New Month magazine, co-founder of their social sailing group the Cana Island Yacht Club and co-owner of The Collectors Antiques.

Jo’s children remember her amazing sense of humor, and how she would often, and comically, explain the punchline first. She loved the inside joke. She taught her family to accept all people and embrace their differences. She always wanted to know the world, and all who knew her will always see her in the things she loved. She embraced the idea of becoming one with the cosmos, returning to nature, being stardust, and told her children, “We become birds when we die.”

That’ll do pig, that’ll do.” (Her favorite line from her favorite movie.)

Arrangements are pending for Joanne’s life to be celebrated by family with friends in July of 2018. Details of the celebration will be announced at a later date.

Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC are assisting the Kuhns family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Joanne may be shared with her family through her tribute page at

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