DODGE CITY — Linda Sue (Drake) Hessman, 76, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at Penrose-Saint Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo.
She was born Feb. 4, 1946, to Orvil and Madge Hill Drake in Del Norte, Colo. She attended schools in Sargent, Colo., graduating in 1964. She attended St Mary of the Plains in Dodge City and Kansas State University. She married Jerry Leroy Hessman on Aug. 29, 1964, in Monte Vista, Colo., and they made their home there before moving back to Dodge City to farm with Jerry’s father. He preceded her in death on May 21, 2022.
She served as Kansas Farmers Union’s vice president from 2016 to 2019 and had served on the board for more than two decades. In 2015, she was honored at the Chicago Farm Aid event for lifetime of family farm advocacy in front of a crowd of 25,000 people. KFU also created a lifetime achievement award in her name in 2021 to recognize those individuals who have made a difference in advocacy for family farmers. She was also the 2012 recipient of the prestigious KFU Ruth Hirsh Award and the National Catholic Rural Life Award for her work with farm and ranch families developing programs for rural areas. And according to Donn Teske, Kansas Farmers Union President, he and Linda hold the state record for the longest mediation in state history — two full days.
A past Kansas Wheat Commissioner, she was a certified mediator specializing in ag issues as well as being a National Farm Aid Advocate. She worked as project manager and family resource specialist for the Kansas Rural Family Helpline, a non-profit direct service program dedicated to meeting the unique needs of rural Kansas families. She was the first woman to chair the Interfaith Rural Life Committee. While on the wheat commission she traveled internationally to Mexico and Brazil to promote wheat exports.
She and husband Jerry farmed and raised a cow herd in a family partnership for 34 years in Ford County. She also worked at the Catholic Diocese and Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections in Dodge City.
She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren going to ball games, activities and numerous family vacations. She also enjoyed her embroidery and quilting groups. She also loved to garden and was thought of as a master gardener by many in her family. She also loved a hot coffee and good conversation.
Survivors include her children, Gina Wilson and husband Mike, Dodge City; Tim and wife Heather Hessman, Wichita; Kim and husband Jay Evert, Preston; Pete and wife Sally Hessman, Beaver, Oklahoma; Shane and wife Sheila Hessman, Dodge City; Durk Hessman, Cimarron: Andy and wife Rylene Hessman, Dodge City; Matt and wife Amber Hessman, Minneapolis, Kansas; 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents, grandson Drake Evert, a sister, Bobbie and her brother, Mike.
Vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, at Ziegler Funeral Chapel, Dodge City. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 901 Central Ave., Dodge City, with Fr. Wesley Schawe presiding. Inurnment will follow in Greencrest Memorial Gardens, Dodge City. There will be no public viewing, cremation has taken place. Friends may sign the register from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ziegler Funeral Chapel.
Memorials are suggested to the family in care of the Ziegler Funeral Chapel, 1901 N. 14th Ave., Dodge City, Kan. 67801. Condolences may be sent to www.zieglerfuneralchapel.com.