Margaret Hess


January 20, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Margaret E. Hess, 78, Butler, Mo., passed away Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at her home. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Butler. A Rosary will be recited at 3 p.m. Sunday at Mullinax Funeral Home in Butler (660-679-0009). Visitation will follow on Sunday, also at the funeral home from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Graveside services will take place at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 in St. Joseph Cemetery, Humboldt. Memorial contributions are suggested to Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Heartland Hospice or a charity of choice. Messages of condolence may be left for the family at

Margaret Evelyn Mary Hess (nee Nelson), age 78, died Jan. 18, 2017, fortified with the sacraments of the church, after a battle with leukemia. 

Margaret leaves her husband of 53 years, James Phillip Hess; daughters Mary Hess (Philadelphia, Pa.), Sarah (Brad) Gentry (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Elizabeth (Paul) Rechenberg (Chesterfield, Mo); seven grandchildren, Maria, Adam and Nathan Gentry and Emma, Kathryn, Thomas and Nicholas Rechenberg. She was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Mariana Rechenberg. Margaret is survived by siblings, Sister Mary Prudentia (Wichita) Robert (Rosie) Nelson (El Dorado) and Anna Ford (Humboldt); and numerous family and friends.

Born to Roy and Marie Nelson on Dec. 29, 1938, Margaret grew up in Humboldt, as the youngest of six children. Raised on a dairy farm, Margaret learned discipline and responsibility. She valued education. This passion for learning continued into her college years where she graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in chemistry and minor in biology.  Margaret attended further education to be a medical technologist, receiving certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. In addition, she ascertained her certificate designation as a specialist in chemistry. Margaret worked as a medical technologist at several hospitals in Kansas City.  

As members of the same church, Margaret and Phil knew of each other for a lifetime. The two began dating while taking the same collegiate chemistry class and married on Aug. 24, 1963.  The couple moved to Butler, where Phil worked as a pharmacist. Margaret was active in the home, sewing clothes and baking treats for her family, leading 4-H projects and tending vegetable and flower gardens. When Phil and Margaret became owners of Hess Rexall Pharmacy, Margaret assumed the position of chief operating officer, assisting customers and managing merchandise. During this time Margaret always supported her daughters through their higher education endeavors of pharmacy, engineering and law.

Upon retirement, Margaret and Phil enjoyed traveling. Margaret collected ornaments from countries they visited spanning the globe and beautifully displayed them on the Christmas travel tree. Margaret relished these experiences including her trip to the Holy Land, cruise around South America, hot air balloon ride over Turkey, the following of St. Paul’s footsteps in Greece, African safari, pilgrimages to Fatima and Lourdes and vacations with her children and grandchildren.

Margaret was an active member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, reading, singing in the choir and teaching PSR. In addition, Margaret was an active member of Chapter HV PEO serving in numerous officer positions. Later in life, Margaret received her degree as a Master Gardener and chaired the open class flower division at the Bates County Fair. She also volunteered at the Bates County Memorial Hospital as a member of the Auxiliary.  

Margaret loved her grandchildren and always sent homemade candies and cookies to them on the holidays. She attended numerous sporting games, dance recitals, plays and activities in which they participated. Margaret strived to learn new things all her life and enjoyed hearing about her grandchildren’s diverse educational majors.

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Throughout her lifetime, Margaret was an exemplary role model, showing hard work, kindness and love — the pillars of true success. She cherished her relationship with the Lord and treasured her many encounters with family and friends.

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