Donald Hess

Obituary of Donald James Hess

Donald James Hess, 95, of Glenville NY, died on December 29th, 2020 at Rosewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rensselaer NY.  He was born February 18, 1925 in Warsaw, NY.  Donald married Barbara Jane Eldredge, who preceded him in death, in 1946 in Sharon Springs, NY. 

Donald spent his youth in Panama where his father, Fred Hess, was a chief engineer of the Panama Canal.  Donald often recalled those happy times living in the countryside.  When Donald’s father retired in 1938, the family moved back to the States. Following the passing of his father, the family moved to California where Don’s mother remarried.

Don entered the US Navy in 1943, serving in the medical field in Pacific Arena.    Following his military service, Don attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned a BS degree in Chemistry.  Don also earned a certificate in Nuclear Isotopes that would later give him entry into working on quality control for General Electric nuclear plants in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois at the end of his career.

 Don met his bride while he was working at a psychiatric facility in Santa Monica California  after he left the military. They then moved to Norman, Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma.  The couple then relocated to Sharon Springs, NY, his wife’s hometown, where they briefly ran a local dry cleaning business.  Following the birth of their first two children, Don and Barbara moved to Schenectady then to East Glenville , NY and Don oversaw the laboratory at Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Maternity Hospitals. Don later became part owner of the Lange and Rapp Pharmacy and Laboratory in Schenectady, and then he worked for General Electric Nuclear Division until his retirement.

Donald was a long time resident of  East Glenville, NY owning a home on Marjon Avenue where he and Barbara raised their five children and several foster children through Schenectady County Social Services.  Don loved boating, golf and hunting with his sons, and also enjoyed woodworking. Don owned cabin cruiser boats and received his Captain’s License. He and his wife had RV’s and took pride in the fact that they visited every state in the nation with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. Don worked as an umpire for several years for the Capital District Umpire’s Association.   He volunteered later in life delivering flowers and Meals on Wheels.  

Don was a resident of Rosewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center since April 2011 where he shared a room with his wife until shortly before her passing earlier this year.

Surviving are Donald’s children:  Robert Hess (Denise) of Valatie NY; Thomas Hess (Patricia) of Valatie, NY; Donald Hess (Karen) of Castleton, NY; William Hess (Melody) of Valatie; and Valerie Hess of Scotia, NY.  Also surviving are grandchildren Joshua Hess (Nicole) of Schenectady, NY; Derek Hess (Meghan) of Des Moines , Iowa; Amanda Hess Knamm (Ty) of Rome, NY; Katherine Hess Toma (Greg) of Rotterdam NY; Daniel Hess (Ember Swinton) of St. Regis Falls, NY; Christopher Hess (Jeanine) of Scotia, NY; Melissa Hess of  Valatie, NY; Nicole Hess Cooper (Jeff) of Scotia, NY; Billy Hess of Valatie, and David Hess of Scotia.  Don is also survived by step grandchildren Patrick McCabe (Logan); Shane McCabe, and Jeff McCabe (Kaila); Scott DuClos (Beth), Jessica Trautwine (Bob), and Brett DuClos.  Don is survived by fourteen great grandchildren. 

Interment will be at Slate Hill  Cemetery in Sharon Springs, NY  later this Spring. Online condolences at

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