News and Tribune

January 29, 2013

P. Patrick Hess, M.D., 91; of Louisville, formerly of New Albany

— Funeral Mass for P. Patrick Hess, MD, 91, of Louisville, formerly of New Albany, will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, New Albany, with burial in Holy Trinity Cemetery, New Albany. He died peacefully, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, at Norton Hospital surrounded by his family. 

A dedicated pediatrician, gifted artist, collector of oddities, beloved husband, father, grandfather, voracious reader with a quick wit, Patrick Hess had an obsessive curiosity and a driving desire to unravel the mysteries of the world.

Born to Theodore F. Hess and Ida Mae Hess (née Armstrong) on April 19, 1921 in New Albany, he was the middle of seven children. While growing up his family lived for many years above their store, Pete Hess Café on East Market Street.

Dr. Hess attended Holy Trinity Grade School in New Albany, the same school attended by his father and his children. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in Louisville in 1939, received a B.A. in 1942 and his M.D. 1945, both from the University of Louisville. He completed his residency in pediatrics at St. Josephs Infirmary. He served in the United States Army as a captain from 1943 to 1948.

In 1950, Dr. Hess opened his medical practice in New Albany on Spring Street in the Floyd County Bank Building. He was a board-certified physician and the first pediatrician in New Albany. In 1963, he moved his practice to the Brooks-Bradley House on 9th and Market Streets, an historical house he lovingly and painstakingly restored. Throughout his years of medical practice Dr. Hess was tirelessly dedicated to the care and well-being of children; answering his own phone 24 hours a day and making frequent house and hospital calls in the middle of the night. He was dedicated to healing all babies and children regardless of a family's ability to pay. He was loved and admired by generations of children for high-quality care and his congenial nature. He was widely recognized by his peers and colleagues for his ability to diagnose rare diseases.

From the 1950s Dr. Hess was an avid runner and fitness buff who encouraged his children and patients to live active, healthy lives.

He made countless contributions to the field of medicine; publishing numerous articles, guest lecturing, and serving on many boards, including the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was on faculty as a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville Medical School.

Drawn to art since childhood, Dr. Hess was a prolific artist focused on colorful human figures, landscapes and still-life. After retirement in 1996, he threw himself into his art with abandon. In his 70s he began to study painting at the University of Louisville, completing 11 consecutive semesters and producing some of his best work well into his late 80s. He converted his office into the Hess Studio Gallery where he painted and exhibited the works of his and other artists in the family. He had several gallery openings and showings, including two at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in New York City.

Dr. Hess was active in the New Albany community for most of his entire life. For 12 years he served as president and/or board member of the Floyd County Library. He and his family were parishioners of Holy Trinity and later, St. Mary's Catholic churches.

 Paul Patrick Hess Sr. was a true Renaissance Man – absorbed by the fascinating wonders this earth has to offer. He was a world traveler, traveling to the Soviet Union, China, India, and Europe. Spain was a true love of his with its enchanting architecture and countrysides that influenced many of his paintings. A lyrical writer he once wrote: "All physicians are artists, not always in disguise. Our way of looking at a patient, allowing our minds to roam over all those perceptions of our previous life, often forgotten, to scan these memories and pull something from our unconscious mind –all with the purpose of creating something. Something to help the patient. This creation is, itself, a work of art." His eternal optimism, energy, and love for life will continue to influence and shape all who knew him. 

A lifelong resident of New Albany he opened the world to his children, encouraging them to pursue their creative and intellectual aspirations. His house was full of books, world artifacts and publications. The Hess family dinner table was always a forum for lively discussion and guests from around the world. He and his wife Gloria have always been loved for their generosity and hospitality.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Gloria Hess (née Johnson); daughters, Penny Hess (St. Petersburg, Fla.), M. Charlotte Hess (Syracuse, N.Y.), and Amy Hess (Westhampton, N.Y.); daughter-in-law, Lois Katz Hess (Swansea, Ill.); grandchildren, Michael Murphy (New York City), Kate Hess Pace (Minneapolis, Minn.), Mark Hess (Newport Beach, Calif.), Abby Hess (Los Angeles, Calif.), Emerald Reilly (San Jose, Calif.), Sebastian Rudolph (Dublin, Ireland), Oliver Batcheller (Westhampton, N.Y.), and Onalee Batcheller (Westhampton, N.Y.).

He was preceded in death by his beloved sons, Robert Charles Hess (1979) and Dr. Paul Patrick Hess Jr. (2010). 

Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, and after 11 a.m. Friday, at Kraft Funeral Service, Spring Street Chapel,  New Albany. A time for sharing of memories will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, at the funeral home.

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