Lieutenant Hess, known to his fellow firefighters as “Bobby,” became a member of the Fire Department of New York City in August 1985. He was assigned to Engine Company 26 in Manhattan and served in various companies in Brooklyn and Manhattan during his career. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2000. His last five years he was assigned to Ladder Company 76 in Staten Island. Just three months short of celebrating his 25th year with the FDNY, he succumbed to 9/11-related cancer on May 2, 2010.
Robert was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 16, 1963, to Mary and Thomas Hess. He loved growing up in the city and would always tell stories of his childhood playing in the Prospect Park Parade Grounds. He was one of seven children and followed his older brothers everywhere they went. His family moved to upstate New York when he was fourteen years old. When he was seventeen, he moved back to the city to live with his older brother, and a friend gave him an application to take the FDNY test. He was just two weeks short of his 22nd birthday when he was sworn in.
Being a part of the New York City Fire Department made Robert so proud that he couldn’t help but to do his job in a way that made him very well respected. Compassion, excellence, and inner pride were characteristics of Robert’s which made him an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. He made sure when he was the officer on duty that all of his men were prepared and trained to fight any kind of fire.
Robert was a wonderful husband to his wife, Patty, and an amazing father to Kimberly, Robert, Brian, and Connor. Devoted to his wife and children, his family came first, but when he had free time he enjoyed hunting with his buddies and also ran the New York City Marathon. Planting and working in the garden was something that helped him relieve stress; it gave him satisfaction to see his trees and flowers grow.
He was survived by his wife of 18 years, Patty; his children, Kimberly, Robert, Brian, and Connor; his parents, Mary and Mel and Thomas and Maureen; sisters, Susan and Denise; brothers, Thomas, Phillip, David, and Craig; his brothers and sisters of the NYC FDNY; and many family and friends.