Obituary – Richard J. “Doc” Hesse

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Richard J. “Doc” Hesse, 95, died Jan. 22, 2017, in Northern Virginia.
Visiting hours will be 2-5 p.m., June 25, at the Murphy Funeral Home, Falls Church, Va.
A funeral Mass will be held June 26 at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer followed by interment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
One of 11 children, Richard was born in Bow Valley, to Joseph and Mary (Wortmann) Hesse and grew up on a farm homesteaded by his grandfather, Anton Hesse. Young Richard attended a one room school house in his early years and was an active parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Bow Valley. Forever proud of his roots in northeast Nebraska, he travelled back regularly to visit his extended family in the area. He was always grateful for the scholarship he received which allowed him to attend Wayne State College. A subsequent appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point (Class of 1945) launched his military career.
Colonel Hesse served 30 years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He received a master’s in civil engineering from Iowa State University in 1949, where he met his beloved wife and partner of 42 years, Ellen. During his career, Col. Hesse had assignments and commands in the United States, Germany, Italy and the Philippines. He served in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. His distinguished career after the military included establishing the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority in Florida and serving as a consulting engineer for over 20 years at internationally preeminent engineering firms. He was Chair of the U.S. International Engineering Committee and served eight times as the U.S. delegate to the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, and for many years on the Board of Governors of the Army and Navy Club of Washington, D.C.
He was a supportive and loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, godfather and friend, devoted to his church, his family, and to his many friends and USMA classmates. He was also an avid gardener, competitive tennis player and superior bridge partner.
He is survived by his five children, Katherine, Milton, Mass.; Dan (Diane), Kansas City, Mo.; Maria (Sharon), Gilbert, Ariz.; Trish (Dennis), Madison Township, Ohio; and Jeanne (David), Great Falls, Va.; three grandchildren, Kate, Ryan, and Evan; his brother, Bud Hesse, Gravette, Ark.; and his sisters, Betty Foxhoven, Wynot, and Elsie Lauer, Hartington.