Peter Hess, 47, a prominent San Juan Capistrano, Calif., jeweler and immediate past president of the California Jewelers Association (CJA), died suddenly on Wednesday, May 28. He had been hospitalized following injuries suffered in a fall at his home. Hess had been in the jewelry industry for more than three decades, starting in his father’s jewelry store in Thief River Falls, Minn.
A native of Thief River Falls, Hess graduated from Lincoln High School there in 1974. He earned an A.A. degree from Northland Community College in 1976 and B.A. in marketing, with honors, from Moorhead State University in 1978. In 1979, he moved to California to attend classes at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and after receiving his G.G. diploma joined the GIA staff. Hess first served as assistant manager of the Extension Division, then as account executive for Company Training programs. He left GIA in 1987 to go into the retail jewelry business, purchasing Snyder and Snyder Jewelers in San Juan Capistrano.
Hess was president of the CJA in 2002 and had been on the organization’s board of directors since 1991. He also was a member and director of the Jewelers of America, Pacific Jewelry Show Committee, and the GIA Alumni Association, and served on the boards of several Chambers of Commerce in the San Juan Capistrano area. Hess was president-elect of the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and was to become president effective July 1, 2003.
Hess is survived by his wife Linda and daughter Lindsey of Laguna Niguel, his parents, two brothers, a sister, and numerous other relatives.
A memorial for Hess was held Thursday, June 5. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club “Peter Hess Memorial Fund,” P.O. Box 280, Dana Point, CA 92629. Hess’ wife, Linda, will designate distribution of the funds to his favorite charities and organizations.