John reached his 80th birthday before he passed away on March 26, 1986. He was a partner for many years in the law firm of Thompson, Hessian, Fletcher & McKasy and his name remains now in the title of Hessian & McKasy, Professional Association.
John's life began in Le Sueur, Minnesota where his father operated a main street general store. He was proud of these roots and was given to Garrison Keillor-like reminiscences of his early experiences. He was also proud of his Irish ancestry from which he inherited his talent for story telling and his wry sense of humor.
His graduation from St. Thomas College at age 19 and his graduation from the University of Minnesota Law School at age 22 suggests his knack for academics. He was on the Law Review staff and was Order of the Colf.
During World War II he served in the army where his talents brought him to the JAG Corp. in Washington D.C. and he was commissioned a Major. Confronted with one family's tragedy during the war, he saw a need for and secured the passage of an Act of Congress preventing the assignment to duty in a war zone of any person's son where two other sons had been previously killed in action.
High points in his career include a landmark case on corporate law won at the Eighth Circuit on behalf of the Green Giant Company headquartered at his native city; a commercial case for the San Francisco Giants rewarded by a grateful owner's invitation to join the team on the road and to bring his son Mike; a complex accounting case (the last case of his career) where the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed his trial court verdict for Midwest Federal Savings and Loan. A skilled writer of briefs, John was equally at home In the trial and appellate courts.
John was a gifted lawyer whose career as a trial attorney was marked with success and was spent in the company of the best and the brightest of the Minnesota bench and bar. Among his closest friends were George McKinnon, Ed Devitt, Rolf Fosseen, and Bob Gillespie all jurists of distinction. His special friends among the bar seemed to naturally include such leaders as Matt Levitt, Hy Edelman and other members of the Lincoln Memorial Society, friendships which began in law school and met regularly over the next fifty years.
John is survived by his wife Violet, daughter Mary Margaret of Littleton, Colorado, sons Michael of Federal Way, Washington and John of St. Paul, Minnesota. Mike and John are both admitted to the bar as is John's nephew Bert.
HAROLD J. SODERBERG