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Samuel B. Hess, 93, engineer, sailing enthusiast

During Hurricane Agnes in 1972, Samuel B. Hess figured that the safest place for his 25-foot sailboat would be on the water.

Samuel B. Hess
Samuel B. HessRead more

During Hurricane Agnes in 1972, Samuel B. Hess figured that the safest place for his 25-foot sailboat would be on the water.

And so with his family onboard, he maneuvered his craft from his dock near Chestertown, Md., into the Chester River.

"There was mom, my brother, and me and my dog, a beagle," said Mr. Hess' daughter, Julie Hughes, all onboard.

"The waters were pretty darn high," Hughes said, but they all saw it through.

"We were all being tossed around," she said, "but he knew what he was doing."

Mr. Hess, over the years, "was always focused, concerned, watching out. He was a smart guy."

On Thursday, Dec. 10, Mr. Hess, 93, who retired in 1987 as a mechanical engineer for the Westinghouse Combustion Turbine Systems Division in Lester, Delaware County, died at Brandywine Senior Living at Haddonfield.

Born in Moorhead, Minn., he graduated from high school in Fargo, N.D., and after almost completing engineering studies at what was then North Dakota Agricultural College, he became a World War II Army officer.While he was in the Army, his daughter said, the college sent his degree to his family.

Mr. Hess trained troops stateside, his daughter said, and after the war, he was sent to the Army of Occupation in Japan "fixing the Jeeps."

Mr. Hess began his career with Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, helping to set up power plants in Australia and Hawaii.

After Army service during the Korean conflict, he joined the Westinghouse operation in Lester and, after four years of night classes, earned a master's in mechanical engineering at Drexel University in 1966.

He was a longtime member of the Cooper River Yacht Club in Collingswood and its commodore in 1974-75, before moving his boat to the Chester River Yacht & Country Club.

Isobel Krouse, who would go sailing in her family boat alongside Mr. Hess' on the Chesapeake, recalled him as "a good sailor." And more.

"He would let his daughter and son take his boat out and race," Krouse said, "and a lot of fathers didn't do that."

Apart from that sporting nature, Krouse said, "he had a wonderful sense of humor."

Mr. Hess retired from sailing in the late 1990s, his daughter said, "because he had a really bad back."

Besides his daughter, Mr. Hess is survived by his wife of 58 years, Dorothy; son, Christopher; a sister; and five grandchildren.

A visitation was set from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Holy Eucharist Church, 344 Kresson Rd., Cherry Hill, with an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there.

Donations may be sent to the Alzheimer's Association, Suite 310, Three Eves Dr., Marlton, N.J. 08053.

Condolences may be offered to the family at