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Memorial created 01-15-2008 by
Howard Yellen
Thor David Hesla
April 1 1962 - January 14 2008

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01-16-2008 8:01 AM -- By: Michelle Gaston,  From: Shanghai, China  

Thor - thanks for the laughs, the tears, the trips, the Ultimate, the inspiration, the generosity, and for making the world a better place. I'll miss you my friend.

My sincerest condolences to Thor's family and loved ones.

01-16-2008 7:49 AM -- By: Anne Lindenfeld,  From: Washington, DC  

The world will definitely be a less bright, funny, and compassionate place without Thor.

01-16-2008 7:34 AM -- By: Cathy and Ken Hagan,  From: Atlantic Beach, FL  

We feel lucky to have had Thor as a friend during a time that brings back the fondest memories - life at Emory University. The world has lost one of the ultimate "do-gooders". We will miss his smile and his genuine love of people and life.

01-16-2008 6:55 AM -- By: Ann Beser & Steve Chand,  From:  

Thor was one of a kind, and will be missed by so many people, in so many places. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with all of those people.

01-16-2008 6:38 AM -- By: Alex,  From: Germany  

Thor, you will always be a living memory for any of us who had the pleasure to know you. I am very very sad and endlessly sorry for his family and all his friends.


01-16-2008 6:25 AM -- By: Brad Evans,  From: United States  

I met Thor in Kosovo while I was with the U.S. Office there. It was a real pleasure to work with someone with his level of energy and dedication. I had sincerely hoped our paths would cross again sometime.

My condolences to all those who held him dear.

01-16-2008 5:44 AM -- By: Armend Susuri,  From: Prishtina - Kosova  

We at KTA still cannot believe that Thor is not with us. We lived in hope that he would come back to Prishtina, one day, where he had so many friends.

Thor, you enjoyed life and lived it to the full. I can still hear your voice, your jokes and your loud music.

I will remember you you as the coolest guy, I've ever met. Thanks for the memories, dear friend. Rest in Peace.

My condolences to all of you.

01-16-2008 5:00 AM -- By: Gunther Fehlinger,  From: Kosovo  

We are really very sorry, We missed you in Kosovo and now we miss you forever.

01-16-2008 4:49 AM -- By: Sofia Olsson,  From:  

I owe some of my best and fondest memories of Kosovo to Thor. My time would definitely not have been the same or as good without him.

01-16-2008 3:57 AM -- By: Daragh O'Shea,  From: Ireland  

Thor - you were one in a million, a cool, cool guy. It was a pleasure working with you and knowing you during our mutual time at the KTA in Kosovo. I am very sorry that you are gone but I trust things are rosy on the other side. Rest in Peace. Daragh

01-16-2008 3:54 AM -- By: Richard Longstaff,  From: UK  

I have happy memories of a happy man. A tragic loss, but maybe God needed a good PR guy...

01-16-2008 3:13 AM -- By: Luca Manunta,  From: Italy  

Thor desperately tried to teach me throwing the dam freesbee, but he could not yet succeed. I am sure that one day, somewhere else, he'll complete this difficult task too.

01-16-2008 2:36 AM -- By: Maryann Kontaratos,  From: Athens, Greece  

I met Thor at Emory a lifetime ago. He lived life to fullest and from my own experiences and what I've read on this site, it is through him we have been on quite a ride.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.

01-16-2008 1:59 AM -- By: Gisele Sanchez Rochet,  From: Los Angeles  

May he rest in peace

01-16-2008 1:28 AM -- By: Michael Maturo,  From: Rossland BC  

Hi Thor,

We were expecting you here in Rossland, BC, in a few weeks for your well deserved ski break. Your favorite run was in the trees above the Paradise ski lodge. You really advanced with your skiing last year. Kate and Luba skiied that run in your honor this week.

We loved having you over for Thanksgiving dinner 3 consecutive years in Pristina, Kosovo. You really liked the homeade pecan pie. We drank too much whiskey until the wee hours at least one year. I wish that we could do that again.

I recall routinely picking you up outside your flat on weekends in Pristina to drive to Brezovica for a ski day. Along the way we argued politics. I almost never agreed with you when it came to debating on how the Democrats should strategize.

We played a lot Ultimate together. I still remember one great throw you made to me for a score. We ran ourselves ragged playing that game.

You snow-shooed with Kate to the top of Brezovica one day in February 2004 with Kate when she was pregnant and I could see you from a great distance in your bright yellow jacket.

Our daughter Maya, who spent her first two years in Kosovo, knew you as Uncle Thor. We were touched that you came to see us in Rossland, BC, last year.

I am so sorry not to have you visit again this this winter, to only have you as a memory. You made a difference.


01-16-2008 12:56 AM -- By: Matt Drury,  From: Wu for Congress/Bradley for Prez  

Thor managed my first campaign, Wu for Congress in Portland, OR. Confused about my role as the campaign neared its chaotic climax, I asked Thor what I should be doing. Thor launched into an eloquent lecture about the German army in WWI, which commissioned a study on what feature was most important for a fighter plane to possess in a dogfight. The answer was not speed, or firepower, but maneuverability. "Young Matt," he said (as he was managing a staff of unseasoned punks), "I need you to be our dogfighter- be flexible, just do what needs to get done." Then he spread his arms like a plane and ran around the office making plane noises. At the time, I thought, "boy, this bald man has lost his mind." But now that I've gone on to manage campaigns, guess what instructive anecdote about the WWI German army I find myself telling my staffers? I learned so much from Thor, and will miss his tremendous heart and spirit.

01-16-2008 12:27 AM -- By: Emily Wurgaft,  From: New York  

Thor will always hold a special place in my heart. He clearly brings people together in a way that you always feel like you are "home" when you are with him. I'm pretty sure he proposed to me every time he saw me :). I will miss him - everyday.

01-15-2008 11:17 PM -- By: ,  From:  

Thor was the life of the party, the consummate organizer, a walking political encyclopedia, and the guy who always saw the glass half full. I knew Thor from his days in DC and in 2003 I was surprised to find him sitting on the same bus traveling through the mountains of Montenegro. Thor was a Kosovo institution from day one. When I last saw Thor, it was in Kosovo in 2007 and was in between assignments. When I asked what brought him back, he simply said his friends. People were important to him. Thanks for the memories my friend, you will be sorely missed.

01-15-2008 11:14 PM -- By: Sam Smoot,  From: mostly Austin  

Oh, Thor-dog. Please, no.

I met Thor while working on my first real campaign. Oddly enough, we were trying to elect a pro-choice Republican in Louisiana. In a bold move, NARAL had dispatched Thor to help the local choice folks win one. Thor had a leaky air mattress and I a sad futon in a unit of a condemned apartment building across the street from the state capitol--which also served as the offices of Louisiana Choice and local League of Women Voters.

Thor was maddening. Loud, bossy, irreverent, serious about the work but little else, he drove Southerners and feminists alike nuts. We got along better after I flung an electric typewriter at his head. Once he boarded a plane back to Washington, we became fast friends.

It didn't matter if years passed or weeks--Thor and his magnificent spirit were constant. Rock-solid, one-of-a-kind, 1000% Thor. Big Thor, Big Life, Big Heart. I miss you so much.

My heartfelt sympathies to Maren, Bernard, Olivia, David, Howard, Michael, and all whose lives were illuminated and warmed by Thor's light.

01-15-2008 10:58 PM -- By: Elizabeth Bowker,  From: Vancouver  

It was my great pleasure to spend a bunch of time with Thor and Michael together in October. Thor made a big impression on me and I am moved by the very very high regard his friends have for him.

01-15-2008 10:55 PM -- By: Leigh Finlayson,  From: Atlanta, GA  

I met Thor in the fall of 1982. We played rugby together for several years at Emory. He was a good friend. I would run into Thor in unexpected places. We watched the rugby world cup finals at a pub in Seattle at 6:00 am in 1999 or there abouts. The world is a more boring place now that he's gone.

"I am Thor and I run slow. And when I run slow, I feel God's will work through me."


01-15-2008 10:43 PM -- By: Andrew Ordover,  From: Tucson  

So much has already been said. I wrote what I could on my own blog this morning at an airport, before I heard about this site. The more I live with this and think about it, the harder it all becomes, somehow.

Though I spoke with him rarely in recent years, and saw him more rarely still, I can't imagine my life without him. In fact, imagining the past 23 years of my life as if he had not been a part of them is to imagine somebody else's life entirely.

01-15-2008 10:29 PM -- By: Blanche Browne Di Rito,  From: Lady Lake, Florida  

I remember Thor as a young child and teen from my days on Mason Woods Drive. His intelligence, wit and general goodness were always evident. He was a special son and brother. My thoughts and prayers are with y'all.

Blanche Browne Di Rito

01-15-2008 10:24 PM -- By: Corey Hascall,  From: Portland, Maine  

Thor was a friend of my friend Martin. Martin really wanted me to read about how special his Thor was. So, I wanted to stop by. I am very sorry for your loss.

01-15-2008 10:21 PM -- By: Tony Wyche and Sara Howard,  From: St. Louis  

We have had the privilege of working with and crossing paths with Thor on many occasions in the past 15 years, and his spirit and unique sense of humor will be something that will carry on in our hearts.

Our most sincere condolences go out to Maren, Bernard, and the rest of Thor's family.

It's hard to imagine a world without Thor. But without a doubt, that world is a better place for the time Thor was here.

01-15-2008 10:16 PM -- By: Barbara Safranek,  From: NYC  

I met Thor many years ago, at best a few times, via our great mutual friend, Howard Yellen. Howard shared Thor's exploits, however, over the years and I can easily understand the great sadness his close friends and family must feel at his passing. Peace.

01-15-2008 10:15 PM -- By: Carlottia Scott,  From: Surfside Beach, SC  

Maren, B, and family, Please accept my deepest condolences and know that I am with you in spirit. Thor will be sorely missed. He was indeed a unique joy! His laughter and funfilled manner of attacking the issues with such a clear analysis always gave me pause and encouraged many of us to keep up the struggle for democratic principles, peace and global justice. Our discussions, if that what you call all the fun we'd have, about the global political arena, from Bosnia to South Africa and beyond, were always insightful. He was always a hoot during our DNC and Brown-Tulley trainings. I am so honored to have known him and will truly miss his 'big' heart. With deepest sympathy, Carlottia

01-15-2008 10:08 PM -- By: Dinorah Cudemus,  From: Valencia, Venezuela  

A great guy, we had the pleasure to work and learn a lot from him as a member of Laszlo's team in 1998's presidential campaign in Venezuela, with Governor Henrique Salas Romer. Very funny, witty, special sense of humor and even left some crushes behind. Condolences to his family, friends, specially our dear Jennifer. Our prayers for your eternal rest in the certainty that you will become one of God's closest pals. Paz a tus restos y luz eterna para tu alma

01-15-2008 10:01 PM -- By: Niall Vignoles,  From: San Francisco  

I met Thorbachov 20 years ago, at Atlanta 1988- he had an enormous scab/scar across his whole head (hence the nickname). He was recoverying from a rock climbing accident where he fell a great distance and could have easily died. I don't know what he was like before the accident, but he seemed to live life like each day was bonus time from then on. Another day to piss off a bunch a people, but to also make some of them laugh (those that didn't were invariably jackasses anyway).

As housemates in the 1990 Seattle Goodwill Games he was no longer Thorbachov, but the "Cock Hound of Puget Sound", spinning his web de l'amor for the ladies of the Great Northwest. Which of course led to his becoming "Sore, the God of Venereal Disease" - not that any actual case of V.D. was ever confirmed.

Seattle led to New York 1992, to Buffalo 1993, to Atlanta 1996 and always more laughs, more mutual buffoonery (though at a high intellectual level), and more food and drinks.

And for me, the final was his writing and performing a spur-of-the-moment song at my wedding is 2007, with the ensemble events cast. Fittingly, it made all there laugh and it was song to "Ode to Joy"

Thor, I will miss your cutting insight, your silly snicker, your endless creativity, and your endearing concern. My joyous friend. Always.

01-15-2008 9:54 PM -- By: Heather Ordover,  From: Tucson, AZ  

Thor was a friend by marriage. His impact on everyone he met can probably be gauged by the enormous difficulty I'm having with his death. I know I'm not alone in that. I imagine it doesn't matter if you met him once or spent every day with him. He was Just That Kind Of Guy. We need more Thor in this world, not less. Blogged memories of Thor: agathon-sbh.blogspot.com/2008/01/unidentified-american-citizen.html mamaoknits.blogspot.com/2008/01/thor-god-of-thunder-silenced-april-1_1 4.html


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