Robert Hedges
1925 - 2014
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Robert Hedges

San Angelo

The Rev. Robert Boyden Hedges, age 88, died peacefully Saturday morning, February 22, 2014, at his home in San Angelo, Texas surrounded by family.

Robert was born to Walter Raleigh Hedges and Rachel Boyden Hedges on February 24, 1925 in Farson, Iowa. He and his family moved to Hedrick when he was three. He graduated from Hedrick High School in 1942. He was the valedictorian of his class. That June, he graduated from the Ottumwa Conservatory of Music where he studied piano. At 17 years of age, he entered Drake University in Des Moines.

He served his country as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 in the 8th US Army Air Force during World War II. By his 19th birthday, he had flown numerous missions as part of the European theater, most notably fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.

From 1946-1949, Robert served as an artillery intelligence officer in Tokyo, Japan. He taught English to the Japanese, climbed Mt. Fuji twice, and while in Japan, he found the Episcopal Church through its military chaplaincy and was confirmed by the Bishop of the Armed Forces. In 1949, he resumed his education at Drake University. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science (Phi Beta Kappa).

While at Drake, he met Carole Simpson and they married in 1951. After Lieutenant Hedges served a year in the Korean conflict (IX Corps Artillery), he and his wife moved to New York City where he entered the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. He was ordained deacon in 1954 and priest in 1955. He began ordained ministry as Curate of St. Paul's Church in Des Moines, and then as founding Rector of St. Timothy's Church in West Des Moines, where he served for 26 years.

For 21 years, he served as a chaplain in the Iowa National Guard, the last nine years as State Chaplain. He rose to the rank of Colonel, and at retirement, he was given the rank of honorary Brigadier General. Father Bob was a 33 degree member and a Past Master of Kadosh of the Des Moines Consistory. He belonged to the West Des Moines Kiwanis Club.

His first marriage ended in divorce. In 1976, he married Laurel Markham. In 1982, Father Bob became the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo, Texas, where he served until 1992. Laurel Hedges died in 2002.

Known for his love of people and of life, and his willingness to hug any and all, Father Bob did not grasp the concept of 'retirement.' He served as Interim Minister at St. John's Church in Naperville, Illinois, St. Paul's Church in Brady, Texas, and at San Angelo's First Christian Church. He even played a Lutheran minister in the film What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which was written by his son, Peter.

He had been a pastoral assistant and Chaplain at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo since 1994. His lifelong love of music led to his serving 31 years on the San Angelo Symphony Board of Directors. For nearly 40 years he traveled the country on behalf of his beloved college fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, working with countless young men in the area of alcohol awareness and drug abuse as well as serving on the faculty of their annual leadership school. He was awarded SAE's highest honor, The Distinguished Service Award. He volunteered in several alcohol and chemical dependency programs and treatment facilities. For the last 20 years, he served as an AIDS volunteer.

When he learned that his cancer was inoperable, he accepted the news with grace. "I wish the news were better," he said. "But I've had a wonderful life. At almost 89 years, how can I complain?"

Father Bob devoted his life to serving God and helping others. Over his 58 year ministry, he touched thousands of lives. He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his four children: Mary Clare (Daniel) Evans, Joel, Peter (Susan) and Philip Hedges. Five Step Children: Jan (Tom) Adams, Paul (Ruth) Markham, Bruce (Kathy) Markham, Dave Markham and Suzanne (Pete) Graham. Thirty Grandchildren:

Stephen and Alexander Evans, Rachel (Philip) Clark, Michelle, Simon, Lucas, Jennifer, Timothy and Allie Hedges, Trish (Mike) Heins, Carrie (Kurt) Kuhlman, Christy (Tim) Decker, Susan (John) King, Marcus (Carrie) Thoendel, Matthew (Amanda) Thoendel, Billy Adams, Bryan (Nicole) Adams, Michael Adams, Joe (Laura) Markham, Cynthia Miller, Scott (Marci) Miller, Aimee (Mike) Turner, Eric Markham, Adam (Amanda) Markham, Anne (Clint) Walker, Kyle Markham, Alan (Lora) Roberts, Chris (Ann) Roberts, Katie and Courtney Graham. And 27 Great Grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Barbara Smith of Ottumwa, and nephews Kim and Kriss Smith.

A celebration of his life will be held at First Christian Church, 29 Oakes Street, in San Angelo at 11 AM on Friday, February 28th. The Episcopal Bishop of Northwest Texas, the Rt. Rev. James Scott Mayer will be presiding. Visitation is from 5 PM to 8 PM, Thursday, February 27, 2014, in the Chapel at Johnson's Funeral Home. At 7 PM, family and friends will be welcome to share personal reflections and stories about Father Bob.

At a later date, a celebration of Father Bob's life will be held at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in West Des Moines, IA.

In lieu of flowers Memorial Gifts may be made to be to St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 1020 24th Street, West Des Moines, IA. 50265.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Des Moines Register on Feb. 26, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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45 entries
April 5, 2014
I knew this was a wonderful man when my young son climbed into his lap within 10 minutes after meeting him. He will be missed.
Chris Patterson
March 13, 2014
To serve on a Cursillo with Fr. Bob was a blessing and great fun.
Lyn Jones
March 12, 2014
I do love this man and the impact he has had on my life for the past 50 years. He has been a life long bright star and created many memories that i treasure. I celebrate his life with a spring in my step and much joy in my heart.
Doug Park
March 8, 2014
I met Fr. Hedges in the Iowa Guard and he was a terrific speaker for The Iowa Military Academy. He was one of the most influential people I have ever known. He will be missed!
Jack Finley
March 3, 2014
Father Bob would show up at our house whenever my mom had just made a homemade pie. He was my childhood minister and a second father to me. A perfect influence on me. A huge presence and a great man. As an adult I now know, in his wisdom, how Father Bob would attempt to make people's lives loving.
Pat (Spurgeon) Morrow
March 1, 2014
A lovely tribute to a wonderful man. I enjoyed the slide slow as well. Blessings and prayers for your entire family. In love and memory, Mayor Steven and Sally Gaer
Sally Gaer
February 28, 2014
He was a great person who always had kind words for anyone and had a way of making each feel special. He will be missed very much.
Len & Diann Anthony
February 28, 2014
I was Bobs massage therapist for 10 years and over the years he became one of my closest friends. I will miss his humor and the conversations we had every week. He loved talking about his family and I felt like I knew his children before I actually met them. I see his spirit in every one of them. I loved him like a second father. He will be missed by many.
Clay Lewis
February 28, 2014
We will miss you Father Bob...Thank you for all your wonderful and tireless work with the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley (Sara's House - women and children's facility).
Eric Sanchez
February 28, 2014
I will always love this amazing wonderful man~
Gail Cruse Cudworth
February 28, 2014
To know him was to love him! Never without a smile, he could talk to young men about things below the belt just as well as those things above it. His honesty,grace,compassion, humor and friendship touched so many. I was able to tell him goodbye last week and wish him well on the next journey to Heaven. God Bless you Father Bob!
Stan Strom
February 27, 2014
Father Bob's 1964 acolyte class. Wonderful time spent with him!
St. Timothy's 1964 acolyte class.
L-R Father Bob, Jim MacMurray, David Newell, Mike Harryman
front L-R ??, ?? , Bruce Wilson.
David Newell
February 27, 2014
My family came to St. Timothy's in 1959 and I was confirmed in December 1963 and was in Father Bob's acolyte class of 1964. When I went to college in Texas we lost touch for a number of years. When he moved to San Angelo we reconnected and I would see him when ever I was in San Angelo on business. A few years ago I spent a wonderful weekend with him at his home and spent hours reminiscing about those early days at St. Timothy's. My senior class of '68 at VHS was the first to be allowed to vote for a commencement speaker. We had a great youth group and always had numerous guests from all denominations. Father Bob was hugely popular with the eighteen and under group and he was selected by a wide margin! What I didn't know was that he kept getting chosen year after year to the consternation of other clergy in town. He will be dearly missed. We are all much better people for having known him.
David Newell
February 27, 2014
I got to know Fr. Bob through Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and I can honestly say that he is one of greatest men I've ever met. I have immense admiration and respect for him, and he was greatly loved by our fraternity. Although the time that I knew him was very brief, Fr. Bob had a profound effect on my life and I am grateful to him for that. He will be missed. My prayers are with his family at this time.
Joey Diaferia
February 26, 2014
Father Bob, Simply put, you saved my soul. Thank you for the patient years you gently reshaped my spirit as my spiritual advisor for the Franciscans. You will ever be my mentor and my role model. The words of St. Francis apply to you more than any other person I know, “Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most Holy will.”
J.R. Kessler
February 26, 2014
Father Bob was a warm and loving friend who happened to be a priest also. I loved the time I had with him.
Silva Speck Davis
February 26, 2014
Father Bob was the first priest I ever knew and from age 1 onward the very epitome to me of what a Man of God should be and even my first glimpse of God himself and the love that God shares through his servants. I will always love Father Bob and he will be sorely missed. God speed faithful servant.
Joshua Sutton
February 26, 2014
I remember spending the night at Philip's house and having Father Bob's French Toast in the morning - perfection! Bob was a big supporter of the arts and all of us mime and theater kids. Blessings and peace to this gentle man.
Scott Stilwell
February 26, 2014
Father Bob, you were the first one to teach me about faith in God and Jesus. Thank You and May God bless you and your family.
Gary Griffith
February 26, 2014
My personal council, dear friend, mentor to my children...giver of grace. I know you dance and sing and laugh today in heaven. My dear dear friend.
Julie Glaspie Kasberg
February 26, 2014
Our family felt very blessed to have been a part of St. Tim's during
Father Bob's leadership. We have so many wonderful memories.
Recently, he sent a comforting letter to my mother, Patricia, after my sister Tammie passed away. What an amazing man!
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Jay Albright
February 26, 2014
Bob, your shining smile and loving compassion will forever be with me. It was a pleasure to know you and visit with you over the years. Because of Gods grace and merciful love, I will see you again in heaven. Thank you for being a part of my life. Prayers for all the family.
Terry Dacy
February 26, 2014
What an incredible man and a life truly well lived. An inspiration to so many of us in so many different ways. Almost seems inconceviable that I won't be seeing that sweet face and bright smile again but I have a picture in my mind of the smile on his face when he saw the gates of heaven and how much brighter heaven is now that Father Bob is there.
Vicky Howell
February 26, 2014
ELLOS PASARON POR AQUI - Chaplain Hedges passed by here - and the lives and hearts he touched are all better because he did. We always had a friendly smile together because a Methodist 1SG and a Lutheran Captain (Chaplain)would come to counsel with him. Sara & I visited him in San Angelo and he proudly showed us his final resting place "'cause I've had enough of Iowa winters". God's blessings are yours, Chaplain. PEACE.
Sara & Bryce Hendricks
February 26, 2014
Seems like yesterday, I stopped by and we went for lunch. How saddened we are. The smiling face, "Tour of Town". Talking about past times and people. I am going to miss the trips over while visiting my son in Odessa. Thank you so much for a long time journey beginning with your officiating at my marriage in 1963 at St. Tim's
May our Holy Father receive you!
Bob Dillard
Bob Dillard
February 26, 2014
Father Bob-
I often think of my childhood memories at Good Shepard Church, being an Acolyte at your side, (remember when I fainted during Christmas Mass?) you baptizing me, my confirmation, my wedding, baptizing my children. Father Bob, you have given me strength in times of weakness, unending kindness, unconditional love, and the patience of a Saint. With open arms, with wise words of wisdom, and your bellowing laughter, and the ever famous bear hug, a combination that always made everything better..... To me, you have always been that person, Father Bob. I am honored that you are apart of my family, my life, my memories and you will be dearly missed!
Rest in Peace

Give the Man upstairs a bear hug for me!
Darlene Anthony
February 26, 2014
Bob was one of my very best friends and a beloved mentor. He is one of the reasons I had such a good time 11 years as pastor at Sierra Vista UMC. He was always there for me. He is now safe with God. I thank God that our paths crossed.
Robert and Carol Hall
February 26, 2014
I was so blessed to be able to know father Bob through the Smith family. It was also an honor to be at his last service st St Timothy's in West Des Moines in September of 2013. I know he will be remembered for his love of God and family. He will be missed greatly
Gary Kane
February 26, 2014
Father Bob was my boss, my priest, my friend and my brother. As his organist at St. Timothy's in West Des Moines, I was honored to play for his wedding to Laurel. Of course there were a few times he told me that I didn't ever need to play that song again! Over 30 years ago he married Marilyn and me in the Episcopal Cathedral of New Orleans wearing the bishop's robes no less! He was always my friend and blessed me again as I visited with him at SAE's temple in Evanston last summer. As a fraternity brother, he was Chaplain to the Realm of SAE and filled a spiritual void that touched countless lives in need of what he had to offer. He is now with the Lord he loved so much and served so well. My prayers go out to the family who know even better the grace, the love and the joy that Bob Hedges brought to the world. Rest in peace dear friend and may comfort and hope be with all who mourn your loss.

Marc Franson, Kenilworth, IL
Marc Franson
February 25, 2014
Father Bob you will be missed by so many. You brought joy into the souls of every person who you met. SAE will never be the same without you. You are now at rest but will never be forgotten.
February 25, 2014
"What a long and blessed life, and what a beautiful legacy to leave so many loving children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know how lucky he was to have the one I know, his wonderful son, Peter. My heart goes out to you and your family."
Carin Sage
February 25, 2014
I have many fond memories of Father Bob from my childhood growing up at St. Timothy's in West Des Moines. Though I've only had the pleasure of seeing him twice in the past 30 years, he was and continues to be the most significant spiritual person in my life. He will be fondly remembered by myself and my family. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. But, oh, what a wonderful life he had!
Kathy Griffith
February 25, 2014
Father Bob made a great impact in our lives. He officiated at John's Father's funeral and also at my Father's and my oldest brother's funeral. He christened both our children and confirmed us into the church.(St. Timothy's)
We will always love and miss this great man. Til we meet again.
John and Cindy VanLeuven
February 25, 2014
Awesome tribute to an awesome man! My love and prayers to all of the dear family and friends of Rev. Robert Boyden Hedges. God Bless!
Becky Doane
February 25, 2014
What a remarkable and love-filled life. Our little planet was so blessed to have a man like him down here for a while.
Steve Coulter
February 25, 2014
I had the privilege of having Fr. Bob in my circle of life for over 2 awesome decades. What a true man of God! Fr. Bob left footprints in my heart that forever will remain. I am a better person today at 50 years old due his lovingness. I was his "AIDS buddy", as he referred to me. Other pastors could reach out to everyone as this beloved priest who loyally sent me Christian meditations every morning via internet. I learned God still loves me from Fr. Bob and that has made all the difference in my L-I-F-E. I hold my head high because I had a "buddy" who believed me.
Todd Ince
February 25, 2014
I could see joy in your eyes, and Jesus in your manner. You didn't know me well (I'm just one in thousands that you've inspired), but I had the pleasure of being in your presence 10+ times in the last 5yrs. See ya on the other side! ;) I will always remember you.
Teddi Phillips
February 25, 2014
The most gentle, loving, and inspirational individual I have ever met.
Dakota Socha
February 25, 2014
Awesome man, awesome life!
Dee Blasingame
February 25, 2014
Bob Hedges and I became fast friends through our Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He taught me how to live life and to do good for others in any way I could. The example he set for young men was more then exemplary. When my youngest son was fatally injured in a snowboarding accident he came to my home in Virginia and gave me solace and comfort which has aided in my grieving and healing process. He will forever be in my thoughts and prayers.
February 25, 2014
Father Bob has been a personal counselor to me when dealing with family issues but more importantly as a dear friend to me, my immediate family and our shared family in Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Fr Bob's reach was great. Our memories will be cherished and our lives have been embellished with his kindness, comfort, and inspiration.
Kevin< Carol, Chris, & Brian Neumann
February 25, 2014
Father Bob has been a blessing to our San Angelo family for many years and will be deeply missed. Our sincere condolences to all of his family. Bob Keeling and the Vernon Pfluger Family
Bob Keeling
February 25, 2014
Thanks for leading us and guiding us. Your love knew no boundaries. May God's arms of comfort surround your family and friends now until we meet again, Dear Friend.
Bob and Sheila Boggess
February 25, 2014
There could never be enough words to express my feelings on the loss of a very special and dear man that came into my life, when I needed him most. He was always there with a smile and of course a bear hug. It's difficult to know I won't see him for coffee, but I will see him again !!!!! He is a figure that will be greatly missed, especially in San Angelo. EVERYONE knew him..R.I.P. Fr. Bob, till we meet again.?
Faye (Skip) Doepp
February 25, 2014
Father Bob: one of sweetest and dearest men I have ever known. Driven and called to serve God and his fellow men and women, he did that with enviable and unusual energy, enthusiasm, and much love. He left a deep footprint.
My family and I send our deepest sympathies to you, his family, and gratitude for your love as well.
Leslie Williamson
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