• David Carlson

233:11/4/2020: Bill & Tess leave us for Home...


Bill and Tess Hagemann left for their true Home - Bill last night and Tess this morning.

Here are the pieces written for them individually:


Dear Sisters and Brothers: It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that our brother and companion on the road Bill Hagemann has died from complications from Covid.


Bill passed last night in the same room as Tess, his joy and lifelong companion.

Bill made an instant impression on everyone he met. A big strapping man at 6’6” inches tall with a smile that started at his capacious forehead and ended at his chin.


That smile lit up many a room. Bill was graced with a great sense of humor. He loved getting intro good mischief.


He was a warm person who delighted in passing that gift along to us in the form of bear hugs. If you were ever hugged by Bill you stayed in the glow of that hug for a very long time.


 Or if you heard him sing this song at St. Leo’s or Emmaus.

 Oh healing river send down your water

Send down your water upon this land

Oh healing river send down your water

And wash the blood from off the sand

This land is parching, this land is thirsting

No seed is growing on the barren ground

Oh healing river send down your water

Oh healing river send your water down

Oh healing river send down your water

Send down your water upon this land

Oh healing river send down your water

And wash the blood from off the sand

Oh seed of freedom awake and flourish

Let the deep roots nourish, let the tall stalks rise

Oh seed of freedom awake and flourish

Proud leaves and curlings unto the sky

Oh healing river send down your water

Send down your water upon this land

Oh healing river send down your water

And wash the blood from off the sand

We will miss him so much.

But I have hope our paths will meet in the great bye and bye.

That Spirit will hold us all in a cosmic, loving embrace.

And won’t our hearts burn for each other as they did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Won't they just light up with joy!

Dear Sisters and Brothers – Moments after posting the note about Bill Hagemann I want to inform you that Tess has joined him. They were inseparable in life, best friends, lovers and parents who came out of a faith tradition of liberation theology provided to them by a priest from the Midwest who was on fire with Vatican II. Tess brought the same fiery spirit to St. Leo’s and to Emmaus.

She was a gift to us as we worked through JustFaith and so many other social justice issues. She was always on the side of those on the periphery – and she was an effective and passionate patient advocate for many years at Kaiser – where she often pestered doctors to do the right thing by their patients.

So also, when we converged on St. Eugene’s to protest the terrible treatment of women and nuns by the men in our church. Her question was simple "Why can't these men do the right thing for the sisters who do so much of the hard work around the world?" 

For the last several years she has suffered lots of health issues. But she  never lost her grace, wisdom, loving touch or her self deprecating humor.

From this day forward we celebrate Tess and Bill and their contributions to our various communities. I’m sure we will bring our remembrances and share them on ZOOM – either this Sunday or as we celebrate their lives on a future ZOOM.

I can imagine them together hand in hand, rejoined somewhere, surrounded  by starlight and a celestially good glass of red wine.

They loved us very much and we loved them right back. Missing them doesn't even begin to describe the feeling of loss we feel right now. A Poem to honor Tess: As for life, I’m humbled, I’m without words sufficient to say how it has been hard as flint, and soft as a spring pond, both of these and over and over, and long pale afternoons besides, and so many mysteries beautiful as eggs in a nest, still unhatched though warm and watched over by something I have never seen – a tree angel, perhaps, or a ghost of holiness. Every day I walk out into the world to be dazzled, then to be reflective. It suffices, it is all comfort – along with human love, dog love, water love, little-serpent love, sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds flying among the scarlet flowers. There is hardly time to think about stopping, and lying down at last to the long afterlife, to the tenderness yet to come, when time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever, and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves. As for death, I can’t wait to be the hummingbird, can you? Long Afternoon At The Edge Of Little Sister Pond by Mary Oliver

- with love from david





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