A native of Newark, N.J., Mrs. Hess-Fennell earned a bachelor's degree in 1963 from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., and later earned a master's degree in psychology from Immaculata University.
In 1965, she married Daniel J. Fennell. They met as college students; he attended the University of Notre Dame.
Mrs. Hess-Fennell taught in Newark before raising a family in North Jersey.
After she and her husband moved to Wyncote in 1980, she taught at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy in Glenside and freelanced for the Chestnut Hill Local.
She became public relations director of Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Philadelphia in 1985 and later was associate director.
In 1991, she helped organize the first national symposium on art by blind artists, called Art Beyond Sight. The symposium, held in Philadelphia, ran concurrently with an exhibit by blind artists. For several years, Mrs. Hess-Fennell was president of the nonprofit National Exhibits by Blind Artists.
After leaving ASB, she operated a company that provided safety training to area businesses and then was director of internal communications for Corning Pharmaceuticals before joining Covance Inc.
In the early 1990s, Mrs. Hess-Fennell, a devout Catholic, founded Bosnian Prayer Partners for Peace with her husband. The organization matched Americans and Bosnians to pray and stay in touch during the Bosnian war.
In addition to her husband, son, and five grandchildren, Mrs. Hess-Fennell is survived by another son, Brian; a daughter, Elizabeth Murphy; a sister; and a brother.
Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at Devlin, Rosmos, Kepp & Gatcha Funeral Home, 517 S. Main St., Phoenixville. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, 502 Main St., Phoenixville, where Mrs. Hess-Fennell was a lector and eucharistic minister.
Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.