Traverse City News and Events

Hagerty Co-Founder Louise Hagerty Passes Away

By Beth Milligan | Feb. 5, 2024

Louise Hagerty, co-founder of Hagerty, passed away Sunday at the age of 88.

Born in Pontiac on March 23, 1935, Hagerty "grew up in and was inspired by the beauty of Leelanau County," according to her obiturary. "From humble beginnings, she emerged as a precocious and competitive student, later graduating as class valedictorian from Maple City High School in 1953." She went on to Michigan State University before marrying Frank Hagerty at the Central United Methodist  Church in 1955. They settled in Traverse City, raising three children and building multiple businesses.

Hagerty "balanced family life with growing their flagship venture, Hagerty Marine Insurance, from the basement of their family home on Old Mission Peninsula," according to her obituary. "Under her focused leadership as CEO, Louise brought all three of her children back to Traverse City to work in and eventually to lead the business. Many of the Hagerty team members who worked with Louise remember her patient but disciplined leadership style and considered her a wise mentor in business and in life."

Several of her innovations helped Hagerty to "become a global brand," according to the obituary. She also had active roles within the Traverse City Human Relations Commission, the League of Women Voters, Central United Methodist Church, Central Day Care board of trustees, the Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City, the City Opera House board of directors, and the Traverse City State Bank board of directors. In 2007, her efforts were recognized with the Athena Award, honoring her role in helping other women reach their full leadership potential.

Retirement allowed Hagerty to "enjoy her favorite activities near Traverse City, Glen Lake, and Boca Grande, Florida," according to the obituary. "She always enjoyed taking scenic cruises in a vintage wooden boat and driving the backroads in a classic car. One of her favorites was riding in her dream car, the family’s 1937 Packard. Her later years saw her develop an unexpected passion for fishing in Florida. Her competitive spirit came through when she often caught the most fish among her companions." In Hagerty’s final days at her home overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, her "thoughts were not of her achievements or of the hurdles she overcame, but of her family and a life well-lived," according to the obituary.

Two public visitations are scheduled for Saturday, February 10 from 3pm to 6pm and Sunday, February 11 from 10am to 12pm at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City. A private burial will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Cherryland Humane Society or the Traverse City Opera House.

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