Robert A. Hess, 84, of Lancaster, formerly of Elizabethtown, passed away on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at Brethren Village. Born in Mount Joy, he was the son of the late Ezra E. and Martha Auker Hess. He was married 61 years to Anna Mary (Hawthorne) Hess who died in 2010.
Bob was a 1945 graduate of the former Mount Joy High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown College, Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1953, Master of Education in 1963 from Temple University and Doctor of Philosophy from Howard University in 1972.
Ordained in 1953, he and his wife spent 16 years in Nigeria as missionaries, spending most of their time educating Nigerian youth at Waka Schools. Bob also gave his time to the growing Nigerian church and the church advanced him to Eldership. Returning from Nigeria in 1969 and completing his education, Bob joined the faculty at Messiah College where he taught full time until 1993.
An historian, Bob was a member of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society where he was instrumental in development and publication of “Hess Genealogy: the Descendants of 1717 Immigrants Hans and Magdalena Hess 1717-2004”. He was a life long member of West Green Tree Church of the Brethren. In 1977, he completed a book about the story of West Green Tree Church of the Brethren entitled: “A People Committed”. Also a licensed pilot, he built two experimental aircraft, and has flown them for more than 200 hours.
Bob is survived by his daughter Sharon Kay, married to Joseph Farley of New Cumberland; three grandchildren: Corrigan, James and Benjamin; and two brothers: Leroy A. (Peggy) Hess and Ira A. (Marion) Hess, both of Mount Joy.
He was preceded in death by a brother Wilbur A. Hess.
A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at West Green Tree Church of the Brethren, 740 Green Tree Road, Elizabethtown at 2:00 PM. Viewing will take place at the church on Saturday from 1:00 PM until the time of service. Interment will follow the service in the adjoining cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Heifer International, One World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202.