Philip O. Hess, 92

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    Thief River Falls and Park Rapids – Philip Hess passed away at his home, May 4, 2017, after an extended battle with lung disease.
     He was born May 7, 1924, the fifth son of Lyle and Olga (Otteson) Hess. The family lived in Onamia before moving to Thief River Falls where Phil graduated from Lincoln High School. He joined the Army Air Corp and, at the time WWII was ending, he was training as a radio operator.
    While enrolled in jewelry and watchmaking school in Denver, CO, Phil met his future wife, Sharline Rasmussen.  They were married June 28, 1950. To this union Steven, Jeffrey, Peter, and Cynthia were born.
    Phil began his 40 year jewelry career at Elofson Jewelers in Thief River Falls, later becoming a partner, then owner of Falls Jewelry. In 1959, he bought out Elofsons and opened his own store at “33 steps from 3rd & Main” – The Jewel Box. At one time he and all three of his sons were involved in the jewelry business.
    He was a tireless promoter and improver and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and opportunities he found in the business world. Over the years, Phil was a partner in a variety of endeavors, including a founding partner of Grandma Lee’s in Canada. It was a fresh bread sandwich shop, in a franchise business model, that predated Subway by 20 years. He wrote, “It seems like I was always running into opportunities to engage in businesses that I knew nothing about.”
    Phil always took great pride in his family. He was a devoted husband and father and became the patriarch who kept the extended family connected. He was happiest when in the midst of family gatherings. His telephone was his favored link with friends and family.
    Faith and giving were both action words to Phil. He was a member of the United Methodist Church, serving on many of its boards, teacher, as Lay Leader, and participating  on numerous Lay Witness Missions. His first project in his retirement was to spearhead the riverbank landscaping project at the church in Thief River Falls. He was also proud to be part of a work crew that helped build the Chapel at the Methodist Church Camp in Park Rapids, in just one day. Decades later, he oversaw its updating. Phils’s vision for the camp resulted in several building, landscape and remodeling projects there. He was also a member of the American Legion, Lions, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Pennington County Historical Society and Northland Community College Advisory Board, serving as first President of that Foundation.
    In 2005, Phil and Sharline built a home and moved to Park Rapids.
    He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sharline;  Steve (Judy) Hess, Ryegate, MT; Jeff (Arlys) Hess, Nevis, MN; Linda Hess, Laguna Nigel, CA; Cynthia (Arnie) Schultz, Richey, MT; sister Genevieve (Bob) Schafer; sister-in-law Betty Hess; and brother and sister-in-law Ila and Gerald Latham; many wonderful grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
    He was preceded in death by his parents, Lyle and Olga; son, Peter; brothers Gene, Byron, Doug and Jack; and nephews Jack, Marcus, and Duffy.
    A memorial service was held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids. A second memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls.  Private burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Thief River Falls.
    Memorials preferred to Northern Pines UMAG, or CHI St. Joseph Hospice.
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