One of the last ‘country doctors’ passes at 89

By on July 18, 2012

Dr. Robert B. Hess

Dr. Robert Buckwalter Hess, 89, of Terre Hill, passed away after a brief illness Saturday, July 14, 2012 at Hospice of Lancaster County.

He was born on Jan. 19, 1923 in Upper Leacock Township to the late David Lehman Hess and Amelia Buckwalter Hess and was the husband of Martha Hoffer Hess, with whom he shared 65 years of marriage.

Dr. Hess was a graduate of Donegal High School, Goshen College and Temple University School of Medicine. He and Martha served with Mennonite Central Committee from 1947-1949 in the China Relief Medical Unit before opening a private practice of general medicine in Terre Hill on January 1, 1950. Dr. Hess was on the staff of Ephrata Community Hospital and served the community as possibly the last country doctor, providing house calls and home deliveries until retiring in 2007, at the age of 84. He delivered more than 14,000 babies in his 57-year career. He was an active member of Akron Mennonite Church, Akron, where he taught Sunday school and enjoyed the fellowship. He was an avid reader and enjoyed learning and conversations with his family and friends.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Hess is survived by his children: Susan A., wife of the late Robert L. Hurst, of New Holland; Martha L., wife of Mark Kelley, of Orono, Maine; Robert B. Hess Jr., husband of Claudia (Irons), of Denver; Thomas I. Hess, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Rebecca F., wife of Dean Good, of Terre Hill; and Philip D., husband of Terri (Schnader) Hess, of Ephrata; 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; and his siblings: Martha Jane, wife of the late Roy Bomberger, of Lititz; Rachael, wife of Mervin Landis, of Lancaster; Joseph, husband of Lois (Wert) Hess, of Mount Joy; Andrew, husband of Dorothy (Metzler) Hess, of Mount Joy; and Owen Richard, husband of E. Joy (Yoder) Hess, of Goshen, Ind.

He was preceded in death by siblings: David L., husband of the late Kathryn Nissley; Benjamin, husband of Sarah Hess Sauder; and Jean, wife of the late Richard Yunginger.

A viewing will be held on July 19 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Akron Mennonite Church, 1311 Diamond St., Akron. Services will be held at the church with Pastors Jim S. Amstutz and Michelle Dula officiating on July 20 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Dr. Hess’ memory may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, 21 S. 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron PA 17501 or Hospice of Lancaster County, 685 Good Drive, P.O. Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17604-4125.

Arrangements were made by Stradling Funeral Homes Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at More HESS, page A15

About Ephrata Review