As he wished, Elery H. Hess, 96, of Waller, Jackson Township, died at home on May 17th, 2021.
Born September 19, 1924 at the newly established Geisinger Hospital, he was the only child of Leland and Edith Hirleman Hess.
In tradition of his family, Elery belonged to the Waller Methodist Church. He served on numerous Benton Borough organizations, including the Volunteer Fire Co., Cub Scouts, Little League and the Borough Council.
Elery also pitched ball in the Tri-County Baseball League from 1946 to 1957 for Benton.
Elery played trumpet while attending Benton High School and was awarded a spot in the All State High School Band. So, he was off to Pittsburgh, for the event with $5.00 to spend, from the school principal!
Elery graduated in 1942, and along with many classmates, joined the military. He proudly served in the U. S. Army Reserves and active duty, including World War II and Korea, 42 years until retirement in October 1984. Known as a story-teller, Elery related numerous events involving his service. In addition, Elery belonged to various civic and military organizations.
In 1946, Elery, Jules McHenry and John Conner established West Creek Rod and Gun Club, which has expanded and prospered, providing multiple years of hunting success, plus family and friend celebrations.
Gifted from his parents, Elery operated the famous Hess Bakery on Main Street in Benton from 1946 to1969. All of Benton enjoyed the donuts and breads, especially the children after school, who stopped by for a treat. Elery also became a perfected flour tortilla and pie maker.
Elery is also known for saving the life of a six year old boy at the Benton Dam in 1957. He pulled the child from the water and applied artificial respiration until the ambulance arrived. The boy survived.
With his first wife, Marjorie McHenry (dec.), Elery had two sons, David and Richard (each dec.) and four daughters: Deborah McHenry; Carol Hess, Nancy Hess; Barbara Minutelli. Beside fun times at the Benton Dam and Park, the family enjoyed holidays at DisneyWorld, Williamsburg, Berkley Springs, spaghetti birthdays at Trionis, among others.
Along with his daughters and son-in-law, Chuck Minutelli, Elery is survived by his wife, Geraldine Dunn, whom he married in1997 and children: Michael Percey; Siobhan Percey and husband, Joseph Mankowski; Jake Percey and wife Paulette (nee-Kester); David Percey. Elery always said of Geraldine: "She asked me to dance, and we've been dancing ever since!"
Other survivors include 14 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren (with another expected); numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and other extended family.
Elery and Geraldine not only shared household duties, but also love of music and dancing, history, entertainment, family excursions, including yearly beach vacations.
Other notable experiences were NYC, Edinburgh International Festival; US-Ghana World Soccer Cup in Nuremberg (sadly US lost); Costa Rica; Mexico, Poland and concentrations camps; Germany's Check Point Charlie and Oktoberfest; Prague; Ireland. Most trips were with family. The historical trip following the Oregon Pioneer Trail introduced camping to Geraldine--she mapped out the trail, but Elery did all the work.
Every summer "Pap" and "Gramma" had "camp" for the Percey grandchildren, with educational and fun experiences, including "tea parties" to encourage cooking skills and table manners. The children laugh and recall Elery's growly "bare bare butt".
More renowned Elery clichés: "it's always something; don't get old; I have all the answers, but I don't remember what the questions were; you betcha; I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens; I'm old and gray and I'm going to stay that way; the problems with retirement is you never get a day off."
Elery's most tender statement was that he is looking forward to meeting his mom again. They spoke a lot during her lifetime, but he anticipates learning more about her childhood and youth when they meet again.
Elery has donated his body to medical research. There will be no funeral service at this time. A military salute will be conducted privately at a later date.
To celebrate Elery, Geraldine and his families invite the community, family and friends, and all who were part of his life to an outdoor Open House at the Waller home (an outdoor event behind the Waller home) on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 from 1 PM to 5 PM.
Memorial contributions in Elery's name may be sent to the charity or institution of the donor's choice.
Thank you to Bruce McMichael and the McMichael Funeral Home staff for the personal guidance and assistance in conducting these arrangements.
The McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., of Benton, is honored to serve the Hess Family. For online condolences, or for additional information, please visit our website: www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com
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