Merle "Junior" Hess, 63, a resident of Southern Pines, N.C., former resident of Chillicothe, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo., died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, at First Health of the Carolinas, Southern Pines, N.C.
Junior was born the son of Merle Oscar and Hazel (Woolf) Hess on May 16, 1949, in Chillicothe, Mo.
He attended Chillicothe High School, Chillicothe, Mo., where he was active on the football and basketball teams. Following graduation from high school in 1968 he attended Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, and North Central Missouri College, Trenton, Mo.
In 1970, Junior was drafted into the military and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1970 until 1973. During this time frame he met, Deborah Sue Duckworth. They marrid Feb. 27, 1971, in Chillicothe, Mo. After fulfilling his duty and serving his Country, Junior returned to Chillicothe, Mo., where he worked as a draftsman for Marshfield Homes.
In 1974, Junior and Deborah moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he continued his professional career working for Marley Cooling Towers, from 1974 until 1988. From 1988 until 1990 Junior worked from home. He then went to work for Butler Manufacturing from 1990 until 1992. Junior and his family were transferred in 1992 with Butler Manufacturing to Southern Pines, N.C., where Butler was then taken over by BlueScope Steel. Junior worked towards securing his Business Degree at Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, N.C. He was on schedule to graduate in May of this year and launch his own company.
Junior was a member of the Longview Methodist Church, Kansas City, Mo., a founding member of the Entrepreneurship Club at the Sandhills Community College, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity.
Junior found time to volunteer for numerous civic organizations and The Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Scout Den Leader, Cub Master, Assistant Scoutmaster, Summer Camp Director, Boy Scouts Committee Chair and Honorary Warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.
He enjoyed small import cars, growing bonsai trees, sports, and the arts. He also enjoyed playing tennis, following the Kansas City Chiefs, listening to music, playing his acoustical guitar, hand-made dulcimer, as well as using his watercolors and paintbrushes.
Survivors include his wife, Deborah, of the home; two sons, Jeffrey Lee Hess and Ian Scott Hess; one daughter, Rebekah Ellen Nicole Hess; three grandchildren, Zachary Tate Hess, and Ethan Cole Hess, all of Southern Pines, N.C., and Avery Makinlee Hess, Rockingham, N.C.; one sister, Rosalie McClary, La Monte, Mo.; mother-in-law, Lois Duckworth, Chillicothe, Mo.; brother-in-laws, Jerry Duckworth and wife Joan. Lee's Summit, Mo.; Kenny Duckworth and wife Vicky, Chillicothe, Mo.; sister-in-law, Linda Peterson and husband Jim, Columbia, Mo.; one uncle, George Hess and wife Shirley, Chillicothe, Mo.; several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, James Duckworth; brother, Bill Hess; uncles, Earl Hess, Forrest (Bud) Hess; aunts Imogene Newman, Okie Todd, Mary Frances Sallee, Raymah Lee Alkire, and Betty Jean Furlong.
Funeral services will be held at the Calvary Baptist Church, Chillicothe, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at 10 a.m. A scheduled family visitation will be held at the Lindley Funeral Home, Chillicothe, Mo., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, from 6 until 8 p.m. Friends may call at the Lindley Funeral Home, Chillicothe, Mo., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, from 12 until 9 p.m. Burial will be held at Resthaven Memorial Gardens, Chillicothe, Mo.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Merle "Junior" Hess Children and Grandchildren Education Fund and may be left at or mailed to Lindley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 47, Chillicothe, MO 64601. Online condolences may be made at www.lindeyfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Lindley Funeral Home, Chillicothe, Mo.