Remembering our founder, Louise Rice Hartwig

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On August 26, our friend Louise Rice Hartwig died at the age of 92. She and her husband, Dr. Frederick Hartwig (May 6, 1924-Sept. 15, 2015), were visionaries who quietly founded KC Healthy Kids, and supported many charitable institutions across Kansas City.

Mrs. Hartwig was kind, intelligent and witty. As a mother of four children including twins, Mrs. Hartwig always had a story to tell. She empathized with some of the challenges I faced with my three daughters, two of which were also twins, and I’m grateful for her encouragement and sense of humor.

When I attended her service last week, it was clear that my experiences were not unique. Her pastor, family, friends and many others in the community held great affection and respect for her. Mrs. Hartwig’s love and concern for children reached well beyond her own family. She was always ready to help them, especially the youngest ones, get the strongest possible start.

That love and commitment to children was a driving force for the formation of KC Healthy Kids. In 2005, childhood obesity rates were skyrocketing. Mrs. Hartwig and her husband realized that more was needed to ensure kids were raised happy, healthy, safe and educated. Through their vision and through their investment, KC Healthy Kids was born.

Since its inception, Dr. and Mrs. Hartwig were an important part of the operations of this organization. They have served on the board and attended our events. They have been stalwarts for our mission to advance children’s health by increasing opportunities for healthy eating and active living. Although we are deeply saddened by the loss of our founders, we are privileged to have their granddaughter, Sarah Hartwig, serve on our board. She brings energy and passion for the mission and her grandmother’s wit.

The Hartwigs will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our staff and board will continue to magnify their legacy and honor their vision to make Kansas City healthier for children.

Gretchen H. Kunkel
President, KC Healthy Kids

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