OXFORD — Oxford has lost a long-serving employee to retirement.

Oxford’s Recreation Director Patty Hesse, left, has retired. She is almost done packing and will drive cross-country with her dog Annie and daughter Jessica Bruce later this week to live in Maricopa Arizona. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Patty Hesse, who has been the town’s recreation director for the past three years after working for EMT department for 32 years, is moving to Arizona, where her daughter, her son and their families live.

It is a move she and her late husband Bob had been looking toward already. When he unexpectedly became ill and passed away last year Hesse put retirement plans on the back burner. But then when her daughter, Jessica Bruce, came to spend time with her earlier this year, the idea of being close to her kids and grandchildren became more attractive. She put her house up for sale and began packing.

By the end of this week her belongings will be in the movers’ hands and Hesse will make the drive to Maricopa, Arizona with daughter Jessica Bruce and her year-old dog, Annie. Hesse plans to split time between her daughter’s house and her son’s while she gets settled. But she does not plan a complete retirement.

“I intend on doing something out there,” Hesse said. “I hope to teach first-aid and CPR out there.”

It was first-aid classes that led her to the Oxford rescue department back in 1987, as a student. She took a class from her friend Lucille Hodgdon, who was then the rescue chief for Oxford-Otisfield. Hodgdon then recruited her to join the department.


“To be a licensed attending (EMT), which they don’t even have anymore, you needed to take a first-aid class, and then one more class on long-boarding and oxygen,” Hess said. “That’s all you needed. Within a year of my joining, Lucille retired. And I became rescue chief.”

Hesse became the rescue chief and served for eight or nine years until the department was split and merged with the fire departments in Otisfield and Oxford. Hesse was named deputy chief for Oxford, and worked in that role under five different chiefs during that period.

She became Oxford’s first full-time recreation director in 2018. She may look at opportunities in Maricopa’s large recreation department, which serves a population of 58,000 residents.

“I will miss friends and trees,” Hesse said about relocating from her longtime home in Oxford to a dessert where temperatures can hit 115 degrees at the height of summer.

“Some of the regulars at the rec center here said they plan to come to Arizona to visit me,” Hesse said.

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