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1941 Thomas L. Hess 2023

Thomas L. Hess

August 25, 1941 — March 6, 2023

Pleasant Hill

Born in Indianapolis on August 25, 1941. He was the youngest of 3 kids. They all lived in Clairmont, IN in a one bedroom trailer until Tom was 10.

Then they moved to a house in Shidler, IN. When he was in high school the family moved to Mt. Vernon, IN. He worked through high school by passing papers and selling ice cream. After graduation Tom joined the army in 1959 and served for 3 years as a photo interpreter in Germany.

After the army, he went to Indiana University in 1962. There he met his future wife Susan Coplen in March of 1967 at the Indiana Motor Inn where he worked as bartender. Sue was attracted to Tom because he was fun, kind and honest. He was excited about having Sue as a girlfriend and they had several things in common like going to church, camping and hiking. He played the guitar and would play and sing to Sue. When he first met his mother in law all she said was, "he is tall." They had a great time traveling around on his motorcycle. One time they got Sue's car stuck and when he was trying to push it out, he got totally covered in mud. In late summer of 1967 they moved to Denver because Sue had a job teaching. They married in April of 1968. After their wedding, they traveled back to Indiana University where Tom got his bachelor's degree in business. He got a job with Brunswick working in Human Resources and moved to Franklin Park, IL where their first child was born. Tom and Sue lived several other places with Brunswick including Marion, VA where their second child was born and Lincoln, NE where their third child was born. They built their first house on 10 acres in Davy, NE just outside of Lincoln. He changed jobs and moved the family to Topeka, KS with Allis Chalmers and then Hills Pet Products. They moved to Kansas City in 1991 with his last position at Andrews McMeel as their Human Resources director. He retired in 1997. In 1999 Sue and Tom purchased 240 acres and developed properties. It was there that they built their second house in Pleasant Hill, MO in 2000.

In 2005, they purchased 80 acres where they helped manage a horse riding center called Horse Power for kids with behavioral issues. They had seventeen horses on the land that helped several hundred kids for 7 years until it closed in 2012.

In 2006, Tom joined Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project as a presenter. He worked as a trained volunteer with other committed activists to discuss the reality of the climate crisis and its solutions. He presented to several groups around the KC area educating people on the concerns of global warming.

He loved working with his tractor and mowing the lawn. For his last 20 years he and his wife had a great life maintaining the hobby farm with horses, dogs, and chickens. He loved their house and all the trees and they built a big community of friends. Throughout his life he had several hobbies including photography and photo developing in his dark room, making wine, riding bicycles, fixing cars and fixing anything around the house.

He was an incredibly kind and patient person, a peacemaker who worked hard to support his family. He was always there whatever the family needed. He could fix anything and changed the engine on the Volkswagen camper several times so the family could adventure to several camping vacations.

Throughout his life he was a great storyteller to help his wife get to sleep. In 2019, he wrote two children's books that were about doing good and being kind to everyone.

He is survived by his wife Susan Hess, his three kids, Kara, Gretchen and Craig and his 7 grandchildren, Drue, Bryn, Lara, Luke, Kyla, Hugo and Fynn.

He was a fun person, husband, father and grandfather... he will be greatly missed.

in lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to



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Saturday, March 11, 2023

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Saturday, March 11, 2023

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Saturday, March 11, 2023

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