Frederick W. Hess, 82, beer wholesaler

Posted: February 05, 2014

Frederick W. Hess Jr., 82, of Dresher, a basketball standout in high school who went on to become a beer wholesaler and basketball official, died Wednesday, Jan. 30, of pneumonia in Abington Hospice at Warminster.

A Philadelphia native, Mr. Hess had a passion for sports. At St. Timothy Catholic School in Philadelphia, he was first recognized as an outstanding basketball talent.

He received an academic scholarship to La Salle College High School, where he played on three city championship teams. Later, he played guard at Temple University on an athletic scholarship while completing a bachelor's degree in business.

After graduating, Mr. Hess ran Frederick Hess Inc., a beer wholesaler in Philadelphia founded by his great-grandfather. The firm specialized in imported beers before such imports became popular. The family sold the business in 1982.

He later started DAB Importers Inc., a national beverage company based in Moorestown, which imports beer from Germany to the United States. It has been acquired by a foreign brewery.

He founded the Pennsylvania Importing Master Distributors Association and was a board member of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.

At the same time, Mr. Hess worked at his other passion - officiating basketball games. He progressed from a high school basketball official in the Philadelphia Public and Catholic Leagues to being a major college basketball official in the NCAA.

He was president and executive director of the College Basketball Officials Association and president of the Abington chapter of the PIAA Basketball Officials Association. He was a member of the International Basketball Federation. He also served as president of the Upper Dublin Junior Athletic Association.

His passion for family and his German heritage led him to take on the duties of president of the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein. With 2,500 members, it is the largest German social club in the Northeastern United States, said his son, Christopher, a club official. His father and grandfather also served as board members.

Mr. Hess was president of the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA, and was a member of many German ethnic clubs in Philadelphia. He served two terms as a board member for the Philadelphia Protestant Home, a nonprofit retirement community. He was active in causes for the mentally handicapped.

"He was a great guy," said his son. "He was a humble man. He didn't like a lot of attention."

Surviving, besides his son, are his wife, the former Marie Heim; another son, Frederick W. III; daughters Susan and Connie Rockwood; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A 10 a.m. viewing at St. Alphonsus Church, 33 Conwell Dr., Maple Glen, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, will be followed by a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Burial is in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham.

Donations may be made to Willow Grove Training Center for Mentally Challenged, 112 Terwood Rd., Willow Grove, Pa. 19090.


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