Former Newport Beach councilwoman dies at age 89

Lucille Kuehn, a fixture of public service in Orange County and a former Newport Beach city councilwoman, died at her home of natural causes at 89 years old.

She died Monday evening, "in her own room at her home in Newport Beach overlooking the Pacific as the sun dropped below the horizon," according to a statement from her son David.

Kuehn had been in hospice care at home, and her three children were able to be at her side at the end of her life.

Kuehn was born in New York City on May 26, 1924, to Hilda and David Maisel, raised in New Jersey, and in 1959 moved to Newport Beach.

She served on Newport's City Council from 1974 to 1978, running for election on a platform of improving and expanding library services and senior facilities.

Former Daily Pilot editor and columnist Bill Lobdell once called Kuehn "the person most responsible for building the city's beautiful Central Library."

Her dedication to the library continued after her term.

She served on the Newport Beach Public Library board from 1993 to 1996.

"Lucille was passionate about serving her community," her son wrote.

Kuehn saw that passion modeled in her father. As Kuehn grew up during the Great Depression, her father would spend one day a week at a clinic for patients who were unable to afford care.

Kuehn was named Newport Beach's Citizen of the Year in 1995-96 and was founding president of Orange County's League of Women Voters.

She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and earned a master's degree from UC Irvine.

She later taught at UCI and became assistant to the vice chancellor.

A few of the commissions, foundations or other groups Kuehn served on include the Orange County Grand Jury, the Orange County Mental Health Commission, the Newport Beach Conservancy, the Newport Harbor Art Museum and South Coast Repertory.

Through her service, she found time for her children as well, according to David.

"Mom was very dedicated to family as well as the community, taking us to the library or to the museum," he wrote.

Kuehn is survived by her three children — Susan, Robert and David — seven grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and her former husband Rudy.

[For the record, 11:22 a.m. Nov. 19: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Lucille Kuehn was once mayor of Newport Beach. In fact, she was only a city councilwoman.]

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