Bill Kuegel, 94, died on Monday, March 11, 2019. The oldest of six children, Bill was born at home on Big Ditch (Carter) Road on July 16, 1924, to Cecil Crabtree Kuegel and Martin Michael Kuegel. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Carrie Lee Newman Kuegel, in 2004 and by his younger siblings: Rebecca Kuegel Newman, Robert Leo Kuegel, James Edward Kuegel and Jan Donald Kuegel.
He is survived by a dear friend, Marjorie Swope, and by his two children: William Martin (Rod) Kuegel (Lois), and daughter, Marcia Kuegel Carpenter (Jeff). His grandchildren include Caroline David Harralson Ruschell (Joe), John Kuegel Harralson (Katie), Martin Lucas Kuegel (Samantha) and William Clay Kuegel (fiancé Kelsey). His great-grandchildren are Carrie Lee Kuegel, Savanna Ann Kuegel, Elaina Nicole Kuegel, Charlotte Grace Ruschell, Susannah David Ruschell and Evelyn Marie Harralson. Bill is survived by his brother, John Louis Kuegel (Faye) and sisters-in-law Evelyn Dotson Newman, Wanda Arnold Kuegel and Mary Haley Kuegel. Edna Ammons DeWeese and Jerry Wayne Bailey (Ginger), grew up as part of Bill and Carrie’s family. The family is especially grateful to Timesavers and caretakers Greg Hartz and Bill Higdon.
A World War II Marine, Bill served in the South Pacific where he helped liberate China from the Japanese. In 1942, the war interrupted Bill’s education at Georgetown College, where he received an honorary doctorate in 2009. He served on the boards of Georgetown College, Western Kentucky University and Brescia University. As a member of the Owensboro Riverport, he encouraged expansion of the property which continues to serve them well today. For twelve years, Bill served on the State Fair Board, where he served as chairman for five years. He served on the BB&T and Independence Bank boards, most recently developing a passion for the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden. Bill served as Democratic campaign chairman in Daviess County. He served as an agriculture advisor to governors and met with four American Presidents to promote agriculture policies.
A lifelong farmer, Bill lived one of his many “sayings”—if you aren’t at the table, you will find yourself on the menu. Bill became involved where he thought he could make a difference. If he served on a board or committee, he showed up, just as he did for work most every day of his life. He was at the table on issues that impacted regional, state, national and international policies. He represented agriculture in Europe, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia. He returned to China after World War II and visited Russia with the Friendship Force. Bill worked with others to begin the annual City/County Breakfast. This breakfast was an attempt to keep dialogue open between the two local governments. At age 82, Bill was one of the oldest people in the state to complete Leadership Kentucky. His work ethic was evident in his example. He said, “If I could change a tire in 15 minutes, the next time, I wanted to change a tire in ten minutes.” He was an eager life-long learner. He taught the Bill Kuegel Revelation Class through 2018. He was a deacon and served as Sunday school superintendent. He worked with his dear friend Bishop McRaith and other church leaders to improve understanding among the Protestant and Catholic communities.
Visitation is at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on Tuesday, March 12 from 3 to 8 p.m. Services are at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday at the church with burial following at the church cemetery. James H. Davis Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contribution suggestions: Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, 25 Carter Road Owensboro, KY, 42301 or Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Building Fund at 5664 State Route 56 Owensboro KY 42301.