Louise Baggett

Baggett, Helen Louise


Louise Baggett, April 25, 1918 – March 25, 2016

Born Helen Louise Dawson in Kansas City, raised by a single father and two older sisters, Louise graduated from Westport High School and started attending All Souls Unitarian Church in 1936.   She married Joe Baggett in 1945 and after some travel, due to Joe’s work, they settled in Coleman Highlands, Kansas City, MO, to raise three sons; George, James (Jim) and Bruce.  Shortly after moving to the house on 35th Street, she offered piano lessons to neighborhood children as a way of making extra money.   In the mid-1960s, she attended Metropolitan Junior College and then UMKC to study music theory while also teaching a growing list of piano students.  Many of these students recall annual recitals in her home as they demonstrated their acquired skills. 

In the early 1970s, Louise developed an interest in international music and dance – likely due to annual performances of the Duquesne University Tamburitzan dance programs held near Strawberry Hill at Wyandotte High School. She sought out others interested in dance, and began a quest of regular dance events and programs practicing each Sunday evening at All Souls Unitarian Church.   This interest develop into a radio program on KCUR FM educating the public about the history of folk dance and introducing many to an extensive catalog of international folk music.  Thus grew an expanded family of dance and music lovers – many of whom became the adopted daughters she missed while growing her own family of men.   For many years, she hosted music and dance programs at inner city schools, community centers and ethnic festivals in hopes of impacting young people with music and dance. 

This extraordinary woman is survived by her three sons, daughters-in-law, many grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the many adopted daughters and sons considered as extended family. We all know that if music were playing and there was any rhythm to it, her toe would be tapping and her body would indicate she was ready to dance.  Her life became a dance, and she will always be remembered in her international costumes, light leather dance shoes and her hands out-stretched to grab onto dance partners.  

A celebration of her life will be held at 1:00 pm, April 16 at All Souls Unitarian Church, 4501 Walnut, KC, MO 64111.  In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory should be sent to:  All Souls Unitarian Church.



  1. Annette Luyben on April 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    George, Jim, Bruce,
    So many fond memories of your Mom. Her many trips to the music store and of course all the wonderful things she (and your Dad) did for us at Westport High School. Am sorry I could not be there last Saturday to share in the celebration of her life.
    Am sure her warmth, love, good humor and Wisdom will be with you forever.

  2. Lona Brotherton Maxey on April 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I, too, was happy to have known your mom as a piano teacher in the late sixties. I had piano lessons as a girl and rarely practiced enough to progress as I should have. One summer in college, I thought if I paid for the lessons myself, I would surely practice more. Mrs. B. was patient and fun. Sadly, I did not practice more, and of course, am reaping my own mother’s comment that I would regret it some day. I am sorry for your loss and hope the memories she leaves for so many will be some comfort.

  3. Diane (Sims) Capps on April 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Hello, George!

    I was sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. I went to the international folk dancing on Sunday nights numerous times back in the 80s!

    I believe you knew my parents on Holmes whom you lived behind (?) them on Charlotte. I live near you in Volker.

    Your mom was a wonderful person!

  4. carol leighton on April 2, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    What a beautiful, talented lady she was. I am grateful to have known her and Joe.

  5. Joy Gooch Fisher on April 1, 2016 at 11:34 am

    You might be surprised at how often your wonderful mother comes to mind when reminiscing about my childhood endeavors with the piano. Your mom was ever optimistic and cheerful as we searched for a talent that really was never there. My mom said Louise would stand at the back of the recitals with a big smile, but would noticeably winch at each sour note that came along. She will be fondly remembered by many.

  6. Claudette Schiratti on March 31, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    What a lovely, vibrant woman.

  7. Gayl Embrey Reinsch on March 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    George, Jim and Bruce,
    Your mother was extraordinary! She was one of those people who didn’t even know they were an influence and mentor to you. And when I worked at JFS I followed her life again–she was well known in their Older Adult program. Some people have such a lovely presence in the world around them!

    Gayl Embrey Reinsch

  8. Dave Herriman on March 31, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Beautifully-written summary for the life of a tremendous lady! And I certainly agree with the personal comments here. Her vivaciousness was positively contagious, balanced with a great deal of patience (for my humble efforts during her guitar lessons). Thank you, Louise.

  9. Jackie Thompson on March 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Louise opened the world of music up to me starting at the age of 7. She was a wonderful and patient teacher to me and a very good friend to my mom. May she have eternal rest and peace and know how much she was loved and admired.

  10. Lisa Montague on March 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Somewhere in the night’s sky, there is a star twinkling as brightly as the glint in Louise’s eyes and the brightness of her smile. On wings of angels, dear Louise, fly you to your rest with your Joe. Thank you for teaching us to dance.

  11. Rebecca Bosley on March 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Louise taught us all how to dance in this world. I miss the folkdancing days and remember fondly her friendliness to all and willingness to teach us.
    She was there every Sunday night,dedicated and welcoming.
    May light perpetual shine upon you,my dear Louise.

  12. Fred Wallace on March 30, 2016 at 5:33 am

    George, Jim, Bruce…a GREAT lady…will be missed by all; clearly lived a full and productive life, a goal for us all.

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