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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

304: Bill and Tess Hagemann: Speaking lovingly to one another, even in their final moments.

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Day 304: January 14th, 202:

Love endures: The Obituary for Tess and Bill

Bill and Tess are an example to us of lives well lived in joy and faith, parenthood and service. Here we present their obituary:

Carl William “Bill” Hagemann, of Santa Rosa, California, passed away on

November 03, 2020 at the age of 81. Bill was joined eleven hours later by his wife Therese Anne “Tess” Hagemann. Tess met him in eternity on November 4, 2020 at the age of 78.

Bill was born to parents Carl Willhelm Hagemann and Loretta Neumann Murphy, on June 13, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated high school from Saint Mel’s in Garfield Park, Illinois, and Saint Mary's College of Minnesota with a degree in history. Tess was born on November 11, 1941 in Elm Grove, Wisconsin to parents Frank John Muench and Doris Elsie Wilke. Tess graduated high school from Divine Savior Holy Angels in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and College of Saint Teresa in Minnesota with a double major in Chemistry and Biology.

While traveling home from college for the holidays on the same train, Bill noticed a young beauty wearing her white gloves and an elegant traveling suit and asked a mutual friend for an introduction. Bill is said to have been quite taken with Tess’s exquisite eyes. Their friendship sparked and a forever love was soon formed. After graduation from college, Bill and Tess were married on June 27, 1964, in Elm Grove, Wisconsin and their new life together began.

Early married life for Bill and Tess was richly filled with Bill’s new career with IBM in the Chicago area and they soon welcomed two daughters. Their son was born several years later and their family was complete. Bill’s work with IBM over his 30-year career brought the family to Santa Rosa, California in 1979. There, the Hagemanns made their new life in Sonoma County.

The vast offerings of their new location from the Sonoma wine country to the Bodega coast, the groups of friends turned family, and social/community activism filled the rest of their lives with love, friendship, adventure, and opportunities to serve. After their kids were raised they traveled extensively throughout the world.

Bill and Tess had recently sold their home and moved to a senior living community in Santa Rosa that they enjoyed immensely. All responsibilities for their home and garden were replaced with painting classes, history lectures, library books, houseplants, jigsaw puzzles, walking, spending time with family, new neighbors and old friends.

Bill and Tess are survived by their daughters Kristin and Suzanne (Kendrick), their son Thomas, and their grandchildren, Kathleen, Bridget, Timothy, William and Andrew. They loved their kids and grandkids with all their hearts. They are also survived by Bill’s brother Larry Hagemann, Tess’s brother Frank (Nancy) Muench and sister-in-law Loretta (Arno) Muench. Additionally, there are many treasured nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends all over the country who deeply grieve the loss of their Bill and Tess.

Throughout their entire lives, Bill and Tess generously contributed their time and resources to countless service organizations and considered opportunities to serve to be life’s greatest blessings. They had a deep and meaningful spiritual life and were integrally involved with all of the parishes and faith communities they joined. Just a few of the many organizations include Cursillo, Marriage Encounter, Kairos at San Quentin, Pax Christi, Just Faith, Emmaus and the Cancer Support Group at Kaiser.

Bill and Tess both died of the Covid-19 virus in this 2020 global pandemic. Hospitalized in the same room at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa, they were overheard speaking lovingly to one another during the final days of their lives. Tess had survived cancer and a major heart attack several years ago. Bill had also survived cancer and a minor stroke, but they were both active and vibrant.

Their family and friends will forever live in gratitude for the health care workers including the EMTs, hospital assistants, nurses, doctors and the palliative care team who selflessly cared for and comforted Bill and Tess in their transition to eternal life.

Memorial donations may be made to the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa, CA.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

We are blessed to have Tess and Bill in our lives!

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