Winifred “Winnie” Taylor Kuehn was born in Riverton, Maryland, and grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. She graduated from high school in 1937 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Delaware at Newark. She taught English at Henry C. Conrad High School in Wilmington from the fall 1941 to the spring of 1942.
In summer 1942, Kuehn joined the first class of U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). She left for basic training at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, in October. In December 1942, she was assigned to the Eastern Sea Frontier in New York City, New York, where she was a watch officer supervising decoding. In spring 1945, Kuehn was transferred to Wahiawa, Hawaii, to work in communications at Navy Radio 41. Her final duty station was Honolulu, Hawaii. Kuehn left the WAVES and returned home by the end of 1945.
Kuehn returned to the University of Delaware to work in alumni affairs and public relations. She married Ralph Kuehn and the couple moved often, eventually settling in Greensboro, North Carolina.