Jean Kuhn was always the "lady in a hat."
She owned more than 30 hats that she wore with style. Most of them
were dressy, with bows or lace.
It probably all started in her home state of Pennsylvania. Jean
was born in a small town called Westgrove to a registered nurse and
the only dentist in Lancaster County at the time.
Jean's mother was one of the old-time grand dames who loved to
The greatest love of her life was music. Jean was a natural. She
started playing the piano when she was 5, she played the organ in her
Costa Mesa church, and she conducted the church choir until her
She met her husband, William Kuhn, when she was performing in a
play in North Carolina. He was there visiting Jean's friend. A year
later, they got married in her hometown. They remained together for
Jean was a talented woman who was brimming with creativity. The
one place her talents failed her was in the kitchen.
Family members were always delighted by Jean's story about how she
set two cakes on fire when she and her husband were a newly married
They lived in an apartment on the second floor and it was hard to
imagine neighbors' reactions when they saw two flaming cakes hurtling
down from a kitchen window.
Jean was in some ways like Lucille Ball. She managed to get
herself into bizarre calamities, but she always made light of it.
Jean and her husband moved to Mesa del Mar 35 years ago. To her,
Costa Mesa was paradise. The weather was great. She enjoyed golfing
year-round at Mile Square Park and at the Costa Mesa Country Club.
Her musical talents found an outlet in church. Jean would lose
track of time when she sat down to play the piano. Her repertoire was
enormous. She could play patriotic songs or spiritual hymns for
She was also quite a poet. In her later years, when her eyesight
deteriorated and she couldn't enjoy golf, Jean took to writing
poetry. Her poems mostly had religious themes.
She wrote a few poems about Christmas, creation and even one about
her mother. She didn't care to rhyme her lines, but rather, wrote
Some of Jean's hats were displayed at her memorial service on
Tuesday. Her family gave out some of those hats to Jean's friends as
a way to remember that dear "lady in a hat."