Z. Jean Hess, 87, of Herald, died at Windsor Elmhaven Physical Rehabilitation Hospital in Stockton on Sept. 5, 2021, with family at her bedside. She was born Zelpha Jean Bennett in a log cabin on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Dec. 3, 1933.
Jean married John Hess in 1951. They came to California and lived in Sacramento until 1955 when they bought a new home in Rancho Cordova. Their house was one of 22 homes in that new community. In 1965, they bought land and built their first home in Herald, where they raised six of their seven children, and Jean continued to work for various State of California departments in and around Sacramento.
In the early 1970s, she and John formed “J. Hess Janitorial Service.” Their main clients were the engineering firms tasked with building Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant, and a few small businesses in Galt. They employed in the family business all their children who were still at home and old enough to push a broom, lift a wastebasket, or scrub a surface.
In the early-mid 1970s, Jean became one of the first three female firefighters in California, as a deputized member of Herald Fire Department, where she served about 20 years. In that capacity she became an EMT, which inspired her to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and by the 1980s, a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
Jean also wrote the weekly “Herald Harbinger” newspaper column, covering Herald happenings for the Galt Herald for more than 35 years, and feature articles for the Elk Grove Citizen, Lodi News-Sentinel, and Lockeford-Clements News.
Jean and her husband were named honored citizens for Herald Day in 1995; they also instituted the Old Orneries group of past honored citizens for succeeding Herald Day celebrations. They were additionally feted when the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors declared December 29, 2001, “John & Jean Hess Day.” Supervisor Don Nottoli presented them with the proclamation on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Preceding Jean in death were her husband of 58 years, John, two sons, Jay Roger Hess and Jim Jonathon Hess, both her parents, all six of her siblings, and numerous cousins with whom she was raised. She was the last of her birth family’s generation.
Jean leaves her and John’s five surviving children: Douglas Craig Saathoff (Patty) of Citrus Heights, Joan-Angela Hess Senter (Chris, deceased) and Jennifer May Patricia Hess both of Los Angeles County, Jeffery F. Bennett Hess (Kristen) and Jason Von Edward Hess (Leticia) of Sacramento; 11 grandchildren: Christopher Rogers of Tennessee, Benjamin David Hess, Andrew James Hess, Richard Herbicek (Heather) all of southern California, Jennifer Charlette Auel-Hess Corntassel (Adam, U.S. Navy, ret.) of Oregon, Jeniveve Jean Hess Pearson of Arizona, Johanna Grace Hess Pearson of Ohio, and Jayne Frances Hess Pearson of Los Angeles, Daniel Saathoff (Marissa) of Idaho, Jessica Saathoff Bauer (Rob) of Morro Bay, and Katherine “Katy” Saathoff of Citrus Heights; eight great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law Lisa Herbicek Hess Racela (Jim), sister-in-law Katherine Hess of Florida, and many nieces and nephews.
Jean was a 55-year member of St. Christopher’s Church, located at 950 S. Lincoln Way, in Galt, where the Daughters of Isabella women’s service organization will recite the Rosary at 10:30 a.m. and a memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, Fr. Miguel Silva officiating.
Private inurnment service will follow at 1 p.m., St. Mary’s Cemetery, 6509 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento, CA 95820.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Jean’s memory to one of the following Alzheimer’s charities, or the Alzheimer’s research charity of your choice: Alzheimer’s Association: https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2?df_id=32112&32112.donation=form1; Hilarity for Charity: https://wearehfc.org/; Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement: https://womenpreventalz.org/, or the Alzheimer’s research charity of your choice.
Ben Salas Funeral Home is assisting with funeral arrangements.