Joseph Hesse, a true Renaissance man, died peacefully embraced by the love of family and friends. He died as he lived, with integrity, peace, love, and dignity.
Born in Flush, KS, he attended schools in Flush and Topeka, graduating from Kansas State University with a Master’s in French. He taught French, German and History at Stoughton High School for 30 years, with a pause for teaching 2 years at the JFK Friendship School, a bilingual, bicultural school in Berlin, Germany.
Survivors include his wife, Charlene, daughter, Caroline (husband, Haman), siblings, Larry, Rosemary and Barbara, many nieces and nephews, beloved friends across the globe, and young adults who knew him as an affectionate father figure.
A memorial service will be held in Madison at a later date, and in Flush, KS. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be sent to the Joseph Hesse Scholarship Fund supporting foreign language teacher education, in care of his daughter.
He enjoyed biking, sports, playing cards and word games, travel, and nature. He put his woodworking and mechanical skills to use as a Habitat volunteer and in building Little Free Libraries.
Joe was a teacher and a scholar in the true sense of the word. He is remembered for his extensive knowledge of history, geography and culture, and passion for languages, exhibited in creation and publication of Geography Capsules. His gentle nature, dry wit, large and tender heart live in us all.
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