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Retired Detective Laid To Rest

John O. Hess, Det. Ret.  Washington State Patrol was recently killed in a motorcycle accident in Eastern Washington. 

Over the past 30 years a handful of Skamania County Deputies have been assigned to a Regional Criminal Investigation Task Force to investigate mid to upper-level criminal activities in and/or associated with Skamania County.  In the mid-1990, Methamphetamines and Marihuana was overwhelming all through the region. After an extensive 9-month investigation, Det. Hess was instrumental in the arrest of dozens of drug traffickers in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties.  Over the years detectives in this unit worked numerous cases in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and as far east as Tennessee.  All with ties to our community.    Det. Hess worked closely with our officers and assisted in numerous other investigations.

This past Saturday and celebration of life was held for Det. Hess in Vancouver, WA.  On Monday a military honor guard, along with fellow officers, family and friends laid him to rest at the Willamette National Cometary. John not only served in law enforcement but was in the US Air Force and National Guard Veteran following his father’s legacy fighting in WW2. 

One close friend of Johns shared the following:

This past year has been one of the worst I can remember.  Riots, disrespecting the police, and the lack of patriotism by professional athletes, elected officials, and society in general.

When you think life couldn’t get much worse, you get news of the loss of a close friend.  He was not only a friend, but also a mentor, a dedicated, loyal police officer, and partner, but also one of the God Fathers to my daughter.  John was good hearted, dedicated, loyal and an all-around great guy. 

When someone passes you want to believe it’s all part of a great plan and serves a purpose.  As much as I struggle with this, I really hope it’s true.  One thing for sure, we look around and a good part of our life is gone.  John will be missed but we are still honored to support Laurie and Katie through these hard times.

John served our nation for much of his entire life.  First in the U.S. Air Force, then as a Trooper and Detective with the Washington State Patrol. John also volunteered several years for the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Dive Rescue/Recovery Team then went on providing evidence support to the patrol.

From now on, every time you see the American Flag or the thin blue lines symbol, take a moment, reflect, and pay tribute to John and to all that serves our country with pride and dignity. If it weren’t for dedicated officers like John, our society would be much worse off.  He will truly be missed.

– Sgt. Arne Gonser, Retired

Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team Leader