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Remembering Christine Hess, Longtime Teacher

February 2021
 
It is with deep sadness that the Rush-Henrietta Central School District shares the passing of Christine Hess, a well-liked teacher who retired from the district last year. She was 54.
 
Chris came to Rush-Henrietta in 1989 as a substitute teacher. In 1998, she joined the district in a full-time role, teaching a number of grades at Winslow Elementary School, where she worked until her retirement last year. Linda Jones, Rush-Henrietta’s personnel clerk, had a number of memorable conversations with Christine during the past few years. “What a positive person - an absolute delight,” Jones says. “Even when she didn’t feel well, she was pleasant and dedicated. You could truly tell teaching was her passion. Christine was amazing.”
 
Dean Hess offers similar words of praise for his wife, who always appreciated her job, students, and the everyday challenges of teaching children. “I think Chris was a good teacher because she would go that extra mile,” Dean says. “The work that I saw her do at home at night, she really cared about the result. As challenging as some kids were, she would learn to work with it to do the best she could for the student. She enjoyed the school family. They were a tight-knit group.”
 
During part of Chris' career, some Rush-Henrietta elementary students took
part in looping, meaning they stayed with the same teacher for two years. Chris made strong bonds with those children, many of whom are now adults. Her colleague and close friend, Libby Steblenko, describes Chris as fun and creative, qualities that came in handy when teaching children. “My favorite memory from Winslow was the garden we planted with our classes when we began looping,” Steblenko says. “Chris had the green thumb. I was just a worker bee. The students learned so much from that experience and so did I. Winslow won’t be the same without her.”
 
Despite a cancer diagnosis several years ago, Chris worked in the classroom as much as she could, even while receiving treatment. After retiring little more than a year ago, she and Dean traveled as much as possible. Last year, just days before the pandemic began, they enjoyed a cruise. The day after their ship returned to the Florida shore, cruise lines stopped service. That didn't stop them from making the most of their time together.
This past fall, the couple hit the road to appreciate some of our nation’s finest natural treasures. Chris was at peace as she and Dean traveled 8,600 miles round-trip to visit long-dreamed-of places such as Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Grand Teton National Park. “We captured all of that and more and it was a high point for her,” Dean recalls. “She didn’t want to dwell on her illness. She wanted to live life to the fullest extent that she could.”
 
Chris and Dean have two grown children, Evan and Laura. A public memorial service will be scheduled for the summer. If you would like to send Chris’ family a note of encouragement, the address is:
 
Dean Hess
300 Ketchum Road
Hamlin, NY 14464
 
Rush-Henrietta will always be grateful for Chris’ contributions to our school community.