I just learned of the death of Dr. Patrick Hess – Pat, as we knew him, but Dr. Hess to so many, many New Albanians for whom he was their primary care pediatrician.
Pat was truly a man of his generation. Cultured, witty, inquisitive. I of course, only knew him in his “retirement,” and during those years I was privileged to serve him and to call him a friend.
The only photo at hand is the one above. It was his last workplace, serving first as his medical office and subsequently as his gallery.
You see, in retirement, Pat chose to begin another career path. And though he consulted as a physician for many years after retirement, his new passion became his painting.
If you hold a piece of Dr. Hess’s art, treasure it. My experience of his art, an experience that undoubtedly came at the peak of his talents, included his whimsical/fantastical period. I’ve no talent for describing visual art, but I do know I enjoyed his gallery shows immensely.
Pat’s work was shown just a few years ago in an elegant New York gallery and he, his family, and his friends took great pride in how well accepted was his work.
Until a couple of years ago, Pat remained physically active, meeting with colleagues and friends at the Louisville YMCA. Those friends know more about Pat’s reading habits than I do because they shared their favorites among themselves.
But Pat and his wife Gloria also became very special patrons of Destinations Booksellers. From our inception, they were loyal and supportive customers who became friends to me, to Ann, and to our employees.
In recent years, Pat’s health began deteriorating. Ultimately, Pat and Gloria had to leave New Albany for a place in Louisville where Pat could get around easier. The deterioration continued, though Pat’s death still comes as a surprise.
Ann and I wish peace on Gloria and her children and grandchildren. They should know that Pat made an impact on his community in sundry ways and that he will be honored and remembered here and throughout our region.
Pat died Monday. He was 91. Visitation has been announced for this Thursday, Jan. 31, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Kraft Funeral Home on Spring Street. Further visitation, his funeral and interment will take place Friday afternoon.