1926 – 2021
Photo provided by the Bass Family
Gladys Lowenthal Bass of Louisville, KY and Boca Raton, FL, passed away February 10 at age 94 at her Louisville home surrounded by her loving family. Her cause of death was due to a broken heart and COVID-19 and came just eight weeks after her soulmate and husband of 74 years, Lewis “Sonny” Bass passed away, also due to COVID-19. After his passing, Gladys missed him dearly. They were like peas and carrots together.
Born on August 31, 1926, in Lexington, KY, Gladys went to Morton Middle School and then Henry Clay High School in Lexington where she was a cheerleader. She could always be counted on during those days to provide a helping hand at the family business, Lowenthal’s, in downtown Lexington. The youngest of eight, Gladys lost both of her parents soon after graduating high school. Her brothers and sisters remained close throughout their lives and relied on Gladys to plan the annual family reunions. After graduation, Gladys attended the University of Kentucky before meeting Sonny in Cincinnati while visiting with her brother. It was love at first sight and they decided to build a beautiful life together.
Gladys was the true matriarch of the Bass family and the person who made life easy for Sonny and her three sons. She effortlessly managed a busy household while encouraging Sonny throughout his many endeavors in life. They shared the love of countless friends, the joys of traveling the world together, the satisfaction of their shared generosity and most of all, the love of their three sons and their families.
When Sonny and his partners started Heritage House Nursing Homes in 1961, the predecessor of Humana, you could find Gladys mopping floors, vacuuming or working the front desk to help open their first nursing home.
Gladys loved entertaining and was the ultimate hostess. The Bass home in Rolling Fields was always a hub of activity. She planned and perfectly executed swim parties, themed dinner parties and wonderful family reunions. Gladys and Sonny were huge University of Louisville fans and supporters. They enjoyed many tournament trips and loved hosting parties for the players and coaches. Over the years, the Louisville community and UofL have been recipients of the Bass’ generous spirit. She and Sonny provided seed money for the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center and the Gladys and Lewis “Sonny” Bass Family Scholar House, both on UofL’s campus. Gladys was actively involved in the Bass Family Foundation.
She was a member of Standard Country Club, Cardinal Golf Club, The Jewish Community Center and Boca Tecca Country Club in Boca Raton, FL. Gladys was also a member of The Temple and Adath Jeshurun Synagogues and a member of Wall Street Women Investment Group.
Gladys loved her family foremost and was kind, generous and loving to all. Her friends and family always knew how much they were loved. Gladys’ loving spirit, beautiful smile and unending patience blessed this world for 94 years and we are all better for it.
Gladys is survived by her sons Mitchel (Delores) of Parkland, FL; Ned; and Steve (Terri) of Louisville. She also is survived by her nine grandchildren: Richard (Stacy) of Miami, FL.; Nikki (David Walker) of Raleigh, N.C.; Jodie, Dr. Heather Bass Zamanian (Kaveh), Anna Bass-Wilson (Cara), Joel Richardson (Sherry), and Ben, all of Louisville; Elle Woodruff (Suzy) of San Diego, CA.; and Jason Gunoe (Dawn) of Canal Winchester, OH. Also left to cherish her memory are her four great-grandchildren: Henri, Lily and Bella Zamanian of Louisville and Remmi Spinks of Chicago; Also her niece and nephew, Sarah Liebman and Michael Lowenthal, both of Frankfort, KY; her nephew Stuart Lowenthal (Donna) of Lexington, KY; and cousin Barbra Katz of Santa Barbara, CA. Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Lewis “Sonny” Bass; Her parents, Manual and Sarah Lowenthal of Lexington, KY.; her two sisters Lillian Epstein and Selma Liebman and her five brothers Herschel, William, Sanford, Sidney and Joe Lowenthal; and her grandson, Elliott Joseph Bass.
A special thanks to Michelle and Larry Smith who were wonderful caregivers and friends, all of the 24/7 caregivers with Ellen Joffe at JB Medical Consultants who pampered Gladys to her final days, and her amazing personal physician, Dr. Carmel Person. Also thanks to Dr. Gary Fuchs, Dr. Britt Brockman and Dr. Ted Steinbock.
In lieu of flowers, Gladys requested that donations be made to Gladys and Lewis “Sonny” Bass Family Scholar House, CASA, Maryhurst, Gilda’s Club of Louisville, the LBGT Center at University of Louisville or the charity of your choice.
Due to COVID-19, the burial will be private and streamed live at Herman & Meyer Funeral Home.