By Lamesha Green (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Favorite memories sprinkled with laughter and tears speckled the faces of about 100 students, faculty and staff who attended the Professor Flora Hessling’s Feb. 11 funeral service at Torbert Funeral Home in Dover.
The college held a service Feb. 9 in Wesley Chapel to honor the professor, 65, who unexpectedly died Feb. 5 at Kent General Hospital after a short illness. At the chapel service, several students and professors remembered Hessling.
“At first I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing,” said freshman Jessica DeChamplain.
“Professor Hessling was one of the most influential teachers I had at Wesley College,” said sophomore Isnara St. Phard. “She always knew how to snap me back to reality whenever I started to get lazy.”
St. Phard also said Hessling inspired her decision to become a legal studies major.
“During my freshman year when I fell off track, she showed me who I wanted to be,” she said.
Attendees at the Feb. 11 funeral service were given a single red rose toward the end of the ceremony to place beside the casket as they said their final goodbyes.
“The loss of Professor Hessling is an extremely hard transition to accept,” DeChamplain said. “She’s going to be hard to replace but her memory will forever remain in her students’ hearts.”
Hessling was the chair of Wesley’s legal studies department for 16 years.
“Professor Hessling was well known for being a nice and caring person who at times could be a little strict on her students,” said freshman Crystal Winkler. “There’s definitely going to be a big adjustment in the legal studies department now that she isn’t with us anymore and being that she had such an impact on not only my life but other legal studies majors as well.”
Dr. Patricia Dwyer, vice president of academic affairs, said students in Hessling’s classes were told immediately about her death.
Students were made aware of resources such as grief counseling and other support systems they could turn to if needed, she said.
“The memorial service here at Wesley comforted a lot of people affected by the loss of Professor Hessling,” said freshman Carlease Simms. “I feel that this event also got everyone to come out and show how she truly touched a lot of people’s lives not just in the legal studies department.”
Dwyer also spoke to the crowd about Hessling’s involvement in the Wesley community.
“She was a beloved colleague, teacher and friend as was expressed by so many at the memorial service on Thursday evening here on campus,” she said.
Professors Elizabeth Marchioni and Kevin Cullen have taken over Hessling’s classes.
“Professor Fran Riddle, coordinator of advisement, has been working with Professor Marchioni to make sure all of Professor Hessling’s advisees are reassigned,” Dwyer said.
“Professor Marchioni is taking most of the majors, and Mrs. Riddle and Mrs. (Charlene) Stephens will be working with the first year students in legal studies.”