Gwen Hartmann

KOS lost a founding member and wonderful friend on February 28, 2021, with the death of Gwen Hartmann.

KOS members recently remembered Gwen with these comments:

-She was a warm friendly lady who absolutely loved orchids. In fact, her email began “orchidlady.” I was always amazed at her knowledge about orchids of all sorts. During my first year in KOS, she gave me a coelogyne and a catasetum. They were challenging plants but introduced me to plants other than Phalaenopsis and encouraged me to expand my horizons. I will always remember her orchid earrings and orchid clothing-she was truly dedicated to her hobby! (Jan Smith)

-Gwen was a very generous lady.  When my husband and I went to Brazil for surgery Gwen babysat all of my orchids for nearly 8 weeks.  They were in better health than when I left them.  I also came home with a beautiful stag horn fern!  I have visited her home and was very impressed with her orchid collectibles.  Gwen lived with her love of orchids. (Gloria Teague)

-I will never forget the day I went to Gwen’s house and she showed me her “many orchid items”.  After visiting her….that led me to initiate the celebration for “long term members of 25 + years!!!!  We will miss you Gwen!!! (Ruth Schneider) 

-Gwen was a terrific mentor to me early on in the Ky. Orchid Soc. She always made time to answer questions about orchids and would love to show off her greenhouse and plants. She was an excellent grower with many, many ribbons and awards. I will miss her smiling face and positive attitude and most of all a chance to see what was blooming in the greenhouse! I feel lucky to have known her and learn from her. God has brought an excellent grower to fill Heaven with showers of orchids…..(Sal Locasio)

-I have known Gwen for many, many years . She was a very lovely Lady. I think she and I were the oldest members in the KOS, looks like l am the oldest now. Scarry! (Heidi Boel)

-I remember looking forward to her bourbon balls. Every time we had an event involving food, she always brought bourbon balls. She always gave new member a plant. I think she waited a couple of times to see if they were going to stick it out. I was lucky- I got two plants (vanilla plant and a coelogyne).  She I always held  my arm when we walked to her greenhouse because she was so afraid that I would fall.  I enjoyed her stories about going to worldwide conferences and what fun she had. Her house was a museum for orchids of all kinds: dishes, books, etc. She was kind, had a nice sense of humor and knew more about orchids than I will ever learn  ! A wonderful lady ! (Peg Revell)

Gwen’s Obituary

Gwendolyn H. Hartmann, 92, of Louisville, KY passed away peacefully February 28, 2021.

She was born in Louisville, KY in 1928. She graduated from Shawnee High School in 1945. Her high school ambitions were to become a chemist and to learn to jitterbug. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Arizona in 1949. After marrying Eugene Hartmann in October 1949, she became a stay-at-home mom to raise 5 children. When the youngest was finally in school, she went back to school herself and earned a Masters of Arts and Teaching from Catherine Spalding College in 1969 and was a librarian for 21 years at Marion C. Moore High School.

Gwendolyn was preceded in death by her parents Henry and Lois (Carter) Heuser, her sister Phyllis Heuser, and her youngest son Douglas. She is survived by her son Gregor (Sally Constable); daughters Sharon, Sandra, and Elaine (Tim Jennemann); and grandsons Orion and Carter Hartmann.

She loved to travel abroad, usually with her sister Phyllis, during her summer breaks from the school year. She visited 26 European countries and a total of 42 countries worldwide. The only continents she did not visit were Africa and Antarctica. She loved making new friends when traveling. In the early 1980’s, she hosted a foreign exchange student, our German brother Ingo, who is still in contact 35 years later. She grew orchids for 70 years and was a founding member and past president (1979) of the Kentucky Orchid Society. She would share her plants and knowledge with like enthusiasts. Often her travels included hunting for wild orchids to see them in their natural state.

A child of the depression, she loved a bargain. She was the coupon queen. She loved Mike Linnig’s fish, Chinese buffets, and ice cream (a major food group by her thinking). She was an avid reader her entire life. A good murder mystery was best. When younger she would scour used book stores for a good read. In her later years, she much appreciated the large print books the Louisville Free Public Library offered. She knitted – sweaters for family and friends, baby blankets and booties for newborns, and caps for the homeless. She took much pride in her yard. She brought many plants back home for the yard during her travels in the U.S. – magnolias from Atlanta and Memphis, doublefile viburnum from Asheville – and loads of bulbs from her trips to the Netherlands. Heaven help any dandelion which showed itself in her yard!

She was a faithful member of Immanuel United Church of Christ for over 70 years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend – always there with a friendly ear, support, and praise for one and all. We hate to let you go, Mom, but we have tons of happy memories to keep you forever in our hearts. Love you, Mom!

A visitation will be held Tuesday, March 9, 2021 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm at Arch L. Heady at Resthaven, 4400 Bardstown Road, with a funeral service in Gwendolyn’s honor beginning immediately at 2:00pm. This service will be streamed live over our Facebook page, to participate ‘like’ our page “Arch L. Heady at Resthaven” and you will receive a notification once we begin streaming at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation or a charity of your choice.

We will all miss Gwen and extend our condolences to her family, including her daughter Elaine, who is also a member of the Kentucky Orchid Society.