Eugene Joseph Hesse, Dec. 11, 1928-May 23, 2014
“A Great Guy”
Eugene Joseph ‘Doc’ Hesse, 85, passed away in hospice in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday, May 23, 2014, after a devastating fall. His daughters were able to make it to his side before his unexpected passing.
‘Doc’ Hesse was born in Wynot, Neb., in 1928 to Edward and Katherine Hesse.
Hesse volunteered for service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, during which he received training as a surgical technician, and his aptitude led him to a career in medicine. He wrote to his sister, Agnes, weekly describing his experiences. Those experiences in the Korean War as part of the first MASH unit (the 8055th) were part of the TV series "History vs. Hollywood M*A*S*H: Comedy Under Fire" (2001). Many of his photos from his time as a surgical technician were featured on the show. With the help of many people, he hosted two reunions of the members of the 8055th MASH unit, one in Greeley, Colo., and one in Mesa.
‘Doc’ Hesse attended medical school at the University of Nebraska, where he was described by his classmates as a ‘stabilizing influence’ and as a ‘great guy.’
While in medical school, he met Donna Davis, who he married in 1957. They had two daughters, Marian and Ruth. Gene and Donna both attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greeley and were members of the Greeley Country Club. Their marriage lasted for 56 years, until Donna passed away in May 2013 after a prolonged battle with multi-infarct dementia.
After Hesse’s medical residency in Denver, Gene and Donna moved to Keenesburg, Colo., where Gene got his start as a general practitioner. Along with his friend and fellow doctor, Wayne “Nick” Nichols, Hesse founded and built the Keene Family Medical Clinic, which still runs strong today. In 1969, Hesse moved his family and his medical practice to Greeley. Hesse rounded out his career at the LaSalle Medical Clinic just outside Greeley. Upon his retirement from general practice, the staff at the North Colorado Medical Center presented him with the “Good Guy” award, which he treasured even more than his golf trophies.
Hesse retired in Mesa, where he fell in with “The Wild Bunch,” a rogue contingent of golfers at the Arizona Golf Resort. Ignoring temperatures of up to 116 degrees, Hesse golfed with the Wild Bunch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Hesse golfed as long as he physically could, until 2012. Unwilling to relinquish his clubs entirely, he spent the next two years coaching his daughters and son-in-law on the correct way to use a 63 degree lob wedge, with a moderate degree of success.
Hesse’s other great love was fishing. While living in Greeley, he and fishing buddy Joe Gonzalez would regularly head up to the Sage and Sand hotel in Saratoga, Wyo., to fish Brush Creek. In later years, Hesse wanted to take one last fishing trip to his friend Bill Beck’s ranch in Colorado. Due to the high altitude, he had to turn back and never got to take that trip. Later this summer, Hesse, along with his wife Donna, will return for one last trip together to the river, forever.
Hesse is remembered by his family and friends as “A Good Guy.” We will miss his stories about Vernon Sidbeck and his adventures with Sister Gemma in Catholic school, his off-color jokes, and his unique vocabulary and turns of phrase. In the words of Doc Hesse, “Rotsa ruck, stay in the short grass, and never apologize.” And last but not least, “Aww, Horsepucky”.
Doc Hesse is survived by daughter Ruth Hesse, daughter Marian Hesse, son-in-law Bruce Barrie, sisters Agnes Ankeny and Dorothy Whittle, and brother Robert ‘Bob’ Hesse. He is preceded in death by his wife, Donna Hesse, and brothers James and Edward Hesse.
A memorial was held at the Arizona Golf Resort in Mesa. For further information, email email@example.com.
Memorial contributions may be sent to:
Eugene 'Doc' Hesse and Donna Hesse Scholarship Fund
c/o University of Northern Colorado Foundation
Judy Farr Center
Campus Box 20
Greeley, CO 80639