Henry Edward Hess Sr.

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June 3, 2010

Henry Edward Hess Sr., 97, died Thursday, June 3, 2010, at his daughter's home in Columbia, Md., in the company of his wife, Dorothy Ransom Hess, 95. Preceding him in death was an infant son, David. He is also survived by five children, Barbara Darling of Keaau, Hawaii; Richard R. Hess of Exchange, Pa.; Mary Quarrier of Columbia, Md.; Nancy Allen of Edgewood, Ky.; and Henry E. Hess Jr. of Claysville, Pa.; 13 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Henry was born on November 7, 1912, in Forty Fort. He attended a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade, and then went to Kingston High School. His grandfather, Heinrich Hess, emigrated from Harxheim in the Rhineland-Palatinate to work as a coal miner in Scranton. His father, Charles F. Hess, was president of a Dime Bank in Kingston. In a family of seven children, Henry was one of two not to start college because of what the Depression did to family finances. He and Dorothy Ransom were married under a rose arbor at the Ransom home on June 24, 1934. In June of 2009, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with a large party. The couple settled in Dallas, and he became an operator at an ice plant in nearby Wilkes-Barre. They had five children and were expecting their sixth when Henry received a draft notice in 1944. This spurred him to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where his refrigeration expertise made him an immediate Machinist's Mate Second Class. Leaving Dorothy to handle the five children and three goats, he went to New Orleans to inspect landing ships being prepared for the Pacific. Then he joined a repair ship heading for the Pacific. Lucky for him, the combat ran out before the ship got to it. After the war, he returned to the ice plant, but realizing this was a waning industry, he became an agent with the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Wilkes-Barre. He was an active member of Rotary International, where he was honored with the Paul Harris award. He was a member of the Orange Church for 30 years. He also served on the Dallas School Board. Henry and Dorothy spent many years in retirement in Florida before moving to Maryland in 2007 to live with their daughter, Mary. Selling life insurance and teaching college courses in a coal-mining town never made him rich, but his legendary thrift provided plenty to live on and retire well. They went on tours in Europe, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, across the United States and Canada, and to the glaciers in Alaska. After the trips, he created remarkable slide shows with informative and humorous dialogue. Henry was a prolific gardener and an avid cook. He loved playing cards with his family and friends, hunting and fishing, reading and watching classic TV and sports. He was especially well known for his sense of humor. He did not want a funeral and donated his body for medical research. A memorial service will be held at Fern Knoll Cemetery, Dallas, in the future. Messages can be sent to Dorothy at 8475 Guilford Road, Columbia, MD 21046. Memorial donations can be made to Gilchrist Hospice Care of Howard County, 5537 Twin Knolls Road, #433, Columbia, MD 21045.

Published in Times Leader on June 16, 2010