If you ever wondered if a word was really a word, Kathleen Hesse was the person to ask. She had an extensive vocabulary and could do the New York Times Sunday crossword in about 2.5 hours. Need a four letter word for reformer? Riis. Eight letters for main vein? Mother lode. Her detailed memory made her a fierce competitor in Trivial Pursuit. To make things fair she often played on a team by herself against teams of twos and threes. Throughout her life she was a passionate tennis and golf player and in her later years an active member of Metro Bridge.
Born Kathleen Fallenstein on May 13, 1940 in Mankato, Minnesota she attended Loyola High School in Mankato. She earned an English degree from Mankato State. While in college she met Bernard Hesse, a dashing, just-out of-the-army soldier who studied accounting and was from the big city: Saint Paul.
Married at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato, Kathy and Bernie moved to the "big city" and rented the upstairs duplex on Fuller Avenue. Kathy worked as an administrative assistant at 3M until just before their first child Jimmy was born. In 1967 Kathy, Bernie and their three children moved into a brand new rambler in Mendota Heights. Kathy loved a party. Her outgoing, personality made it easy for her to meet people and form fast and lasting friendships. She was especially close to Sandy next door, who was there for Kathy when Kathy's health declined.
Kathy is survived by her husband Bernie, sons Mathew and Robert and daughter Jackie. She will be deeply missed by sisters Barbara Friedrichs and Patrice Johnson and brother Mike Fallenstein. She was our steel magnolia. An involved and "dope" (to quote her grandchildren) grandmother to Wolfe and Ava Williams and Ben and Lindsey Hesse, their "Ama" will be missed. Kathy is preceded in death by her parents Benjamin and Lydia, brother Ernest and toddler son Jimmy. A life long learner and avid reader, Kathy was never without at least two books at hand. Even when her memory declined she still knew how to get to the library and archaic words for everyday things. In the 1980s and 1990s after her kids were in school Kathy went back to school and got her teacher's license. She worked as a homebound teacher for District 197. Most of her students attended Henry Sibley High School. At Sibley she made many teacher friends and each year she vacationed in Mexico. Kathy loved the sun, the beach, and volleyball in the pool. In her retirement she made many friends at the Cherokee Sirloin Room and was a Friday afternoon regular. In accordance with her wishes there will not be a funeral. The family will have a small private gathering for family, friends and neighbors at DeGidios Restaurant, 425 Seventh Street West, Saint Paul, on Sunday, November 12 from 3-7PM. In lieu of bouquets we ask those inclined to bring a single rose of any color.
Published on October 24, 2017