Marie Hess

Dec. 23, 1908 - March 15, 2009

Marie Hess, age 100, of Tomah, passed away March 15, 2009, in Janesville.

Marie was born in Aberdeen, S.D., on Dec. 23, 1908, to Bert and Ida (Smith) Williams. Her mother died and father left when she was 8 years old. Marie was raised by her older sister, Elsie. Following graduation from high school in South Dakota, she moved to Wisconsin to be near relatives. Marie moved in with an aunt and started working at a tobacco factory in Tomah. She met John Hess at another auntís home and fell in love. They were united in marriage October 5, 1927, until his death in 1970.

Marie was a go-getter. In addition to working in tobacco, she worked at a grocery store, then as a dental assistant. She volunteered for 20 years at Tomah Health Care Center, playing the organ and taking the residents out for coffee. At age 85, she worked for Hiawatha Bus Company in La Crosse, giving tours for senior citizens in every state in the U.S. and once to Europe. This contributed to her receiving special acclaim as one of the "Ten Most Admired Senior Citizens" in Wisconsin. In February 2008, Marie moved to Janesville to live closer to her two sons.

Marie is survived by her three sons, Charles (Doris) Hess and Don (Jean) Hess, both of Janesville, and John (Kay) Hess of Waukesha; 12 grandchildren, Sandra Davis, Vicki Gridley, Barbara Thurler, Donna Hess, Kim Gradajen, Kelly Manders, Jamie Schneider, Jay Hess, Jordan Hess, Jane Hess, Paul Hess and Susan Hess; 22 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends.

Marie was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; and her sister, Elsie Gunderson.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 21 at St. Mary Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Tomah, with the Very Rev. Steven J. Kachel officiating. Burial will follow in St. Maryís Catholic Cemetery in Tomah. Family and friends are invited for visitation from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Saturday at the church.

Memorials may be given to the Tomah Hospice Touch Serenity House.

The Torkelson Funeral Home of Tomah, (608) 372-5158, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at

(Freeman - March 18, 2009)