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HESS, John

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HESS, John. (South Freeport, IL, May 13, 1930--Dubuque, IA, Jan. 24, 2017) The son of Elmer and Cora (Hesselbacher) Hess, John attended Silver Creek Center School and Freeport High School. His father was a section foreman with the railroad at the time and because of the war, able-bodied section hands were in short supply. Since he was big for his age, Hess was "drafted" to work on the railroad alongside his father at the age of 14. He continued work on the railroad through high school until he was drafted into the Army during the KOREAN CONFLICT. (1)

After basic training and Ordinance Technical Intelligence School, he was assigned to hazardous duty in Salzburg, Austria. While there, he attended Troop Information and Education School at the Dachau Concentration Camp in Bavaria. This was his introduction to teaching and it influenced his post-service career. (2)

After completing his military commitment, he entered Northern Illinois University where he received his B.S. degree in 1958. He later returned to NIU to earn his master's degree (1964) in Educational Administration and his Ed.D. (1969) (3)

While working as a teacher at East Aurora High School in Aurora, Illinois, John met a new English teacher on staff by the name of Jeanette "Jan" Schmidt; the two fell in love and married. See: Jeanette Ruth "Jan" HESS (4)

Two weeks after receiving his doctorate in 1969, John was hired at LORAS COLLEGE as an assistant professor in the Education Department. During his time at Loras, he served in various professional ranks which included chair of the Loras College Education department, and chair of the Tri-College Education department. Named Director of Community Education in 1975, Hess was then serving as the Director of the Loras College Graduate Division. He had been chair of the Department of Education and chairman of the Division of Professional Studies. Hess also served as a campus coordinator for the Iowa Leadership Development Institute, a community development project, sponsored by the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. John retired from Loras College in 1998 after 29 years of service. (5)

In 1993, the Iowa Association for Lifelong Learning presented him with the Distinguished Service Award Emeritus for his many contributions to the IALL. He was one of the charter members of the organization, having served two terms on their board of directors and three terms as chair of the Legislative Committee. A member of the Dubuque Lions Club, he received the Warren Coleman Award from the Iowa Lions Club and the Melvin Jones Fellow Award from the Lions Club International. He was a member of the Iowa Citizen's Foster Care Review Board, a member of the IntegrUS (Teachers') Credit Union and past member and chair of the Dubuque County Historic Preservation Commission. (6)

John was active in the Dubuque County Historical Society's Local History Board and the Building and Sites Committee. He was past member of the Friends of the Loras Library Board, the Dubuque Area Lifetime Center Board, a past member and chair of the Gold Star Teacher Awards Committee and a past member of the Site Council for Audubon School. (7)

John had a laugh that filled the entire room. He was friendly, dedicated, humble and professional. He had the ability to relate to his students and always encouraged them and helped them improve their practice.



1. Obituary, Telegraph Herald

2. Ibid.

3. "People," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 13, 1977, p. 8

4. Obituary

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.