Celebrating life stories...



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

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01-15-2008 6:06 PM -- By: Rob Kelter,  From: Chicago  

I met Thor on the Gash campaign in 2002, and as the saying goes "he was a real trooper" Dedicated, hard working and a good guy who maintained a sense of humor throughout the campaign. In the world of politics, if that's how you're remembered I think your life has been a great success. I'm just sorry Thor's was cut short. Rob Kelter

01-15-2008 6:01 PM -- By: Severine Weber,  From: Switzerland  

Thanks Thor for all the fantastic moments spent in Kosovo with the ultimate gang and the others. We won't forget you. We miss you already.

01-15-2008 5:44 PM -- By: Caroline Campbell,  From: everywhere  

There are no words to convey what all we will be missing without you, Thor.

01-15-2008 5:41 PM -- By: EB Nesbitt,  From: DC  

My heart is sad. Thor, you put me in a safer vehicle in snowy Iowa when my little rental car was no match for the icy roads; you always introduce me to amazing people who quickly become friends forever; I liked it when you asked me to tell embarrasing EB stories that made you laugh (and often embarass myself in the process--which was fine). Thank you for being a true friend and magical wonder of strength. You believed in all of us.

01-15-2008 5:32 PM -- By: Ann Cody,  From: Washington, DC  

Thor could sure fill a room with his personality. I met him working on the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. It doesn't surprize me to learn that he found his way to Kabul - knowing the huge commitments he had in the world. My condolences to his family and close friends. I'm sad and shaken by his death and will miss his presence in the world.

01-15-2008 5:19 PM -- By: Howard Yellen,  From: San Francisco  

As I read the articles onlnie, the phrase that keeps sticking in my head is "Including one American." It hardly captures the essence of the man, does it?

01-15-2008 5:13 PM -- By: Mike Lynch,  From: WI, DC, Kosovo  

I'm sure that I will soon be able to share stories of the Groundhog Day campaign in Kenosha or random discussions in coffee shops in NYC and DC or meeting up for breakfast at Thor's favorite spot in Pristina. But, for now, I'm just sad and thinking what I wouldn't give for just one more Big Letter...

My thoughts and prayers go to Maren and family.

01-15-2008 5:08 PM -- By: Beth Porter,  From: Arlington, VA  

I never met Thor although I have enjoyed reading all the wonderful things written here by his many friends and loved ones.

I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to my friends Maren, Bernard, Olivia, and David. They are wonderful,vibrant people and I am sure Thor was too.

01-15-2008 5:05 PM -- By: Elise Labott,  From: cnn  

Please accept my condolences. I did not know Thor, but he seemed like a wonderful person who made the world a better place.

01-15-2008 5:04 PM -- By: Bill Carney,  From: Fort Lauderdale, FL  

When I think of Thor I’ll remember laughter, his irreverence and above all his essential goodness.

For some reason a poem “SGT MacKenzie” by Joseph Kilna MacKenzie comes to mind:

Lay me down in the cold, cold ground Where before many more have gone

Lay me down in the cold cold ground Where before many more have gone

Once a year say a prayer for me Close your eyes and remember me

01-15-2008 5:03 PM -- By: Scott Tyre,  From: Madison, Wisconsin  

I am so sorry to hear of Thor's passing. We meet in Kenosha, Wisconsin on a Special Election for the 1st Congressional District. We had many a good times. Best to all the family and friends. We have lost a Warrior.

01-15-2008 4:56 PM -- By: Bram Thibaut,  From: Belgium  

As many others I knew Thor from Kosovo, and, again like it was the case with many others, he was the one who introduced me in the Pristina social scene and frisbee game. Thanks for that, Thor, you were a great guy. Thanks to you I had a great time in Kosovo. I shed tears today for the first time in 15 years, a sad day indeed.

My condoleances to Thor's family and strength in these dark days.

01-15-2008 4:53 PM -- By: Woody Bartlett,  From: Atlanta, GA  

I was Thor's childhood pastor, after a fashion. (Can you imagine Thor being pastored?) Still, I was quite involved with him and his family in those years. The news of his death came as a deep shock. Farewell, valient warrior and bemused liver of life. Your absence leaves an incredible hole in this world.

01-15-2008 4:42 PM -- By: David Cassidy,  From: Naples, FL.  

I met Thor in the late 80's in Atlanta. He was a close friend of my soon to be wife, Kristin Norris. We all became close through a once a week gathering that included much laughter, some debates and I may be a little foggy on this, due to this, hoisting a few pints in honor of laughter and friendship. Thor....you are missed already.

01-15-2008 4:37 PM -- By: David Broder,  From: Washington, DC  

Thor gave me my first real job in politics and - though he may not want to admit this - taught me everything I know about political campaigns. But, most of all, he taught me to always laugh; appreciate those around you; and to never take yourself too seriously. He will be sorely missed, even as I can still hear him laughing.

01-15-2008 4:35 PM -- By: Laura Swedlow,  From: NYC  

I first met Thor when I worked in Buffalo in 93. What good times we had and then after in Atlanta. He always found a way to keep you laughing. What a good person he was.

He will be missed..

My condolences to Thor's Family and his Loved ones


01-15-2008 4:33 PM -- By: Molly Slingerland,  From:  

A man of good words and better deeds. The loss is ours.

01-15-2008 4:18 PM -- By: Meghan,  From: Canada  

My heart goes out to Thors family and many friends. I only spent a brief period of time with Thor while in Kosovo but he was a breath of fresh air and was always good for a few laughs. He will absolutely be missed, and is a constant sourse of inspiration. X

01-15-2008 4:08 PM -- By: Kristin Norris Cassidy,  From: Naples Florida  

I haven't seen Thor in many, many years, but everytime he would cross my mind I would smile...and usually start laughing uncontrollably, drawing stares from passers-by. I'm going to remember him as one of the forces of light fighting against the void/darkness/X.

01-15-2008 4:05 PM -- By: Cristian Constantinescu,  From: Romania  

My sincere condoleances to the family. Thor was a great friend, with a great lust for life and fantastic sense of humour. It is a very sad day.

01-15-2008 4:04 PM -- By: Scott Dworschak,  From: Illinois  

There wasn't much, if anything, politically that Thor and I agreed upon but I respected his convictions and intellect.

Even after a long discussion i.e. fight, he could still make you laugh.

He will be missed.

01-15-2008 4:02 PM -- By: Deanna Aubrey,  From: Australia  

To the Thorganiser, I will always remember our time in Kosovo which was full of great 'brekkies' and cool trips in search of new destinations to throw or photograph the frisbee! You were like your heart -always larger than life and ready to plan the next big event to ensure all your friends had a great time. I hope that whereever you are now is the event of a lifetime large enough to fit your heart and a few good quality cigars! Love TC

01-15-2008 4:01 PM -- By: Joanne Fitzgerald,  From: Dublin, Ireland  

I was lucky enough to meet Thor very briefly in Kosovo where he presided over the Pristina social scene and was extremely kind and welcoming, not to mention generous and even slightly flirtatious. Some very entertaining emails have been exchanged, and there's no question he had wit to spare. When he came to Dublin last year it was an event to see him but he obviously missed the work, the buzz and the friends he'd made in Kosovo. I'm devastated by the news. My heart goes out to his family and his army of friend who are all missing him terribly.

01-15-2008 3:57 PM -- By: Caren Solomon Bharwani,  From: Atlanta  

I met Thor when I was 17 years old working at the 88 convention. Thor introduced me to some of his favorite bars here in Atlanta (no, I wasn't 21 yet) but he always looked out for me. We worked together on and off for many years after. Thor was always my link to old DPGA folks and I always enjoyed re-connecting with him.

I feel privilged to have known Thor and spent some great times with him not just in Atlanta but all over the country. Thor's humor and wit were unmatched and I will truly, truly miss him.

01-15-2008 3:55 PM -- By: Craig Varoga,  From:  

I had the honor -- no, pleasure -- of working with Thor at the DNC Training Academy and then the Brown-Tully Institute. Thor was a hoot -- smart, funny, irreverent and, even when piercing the falsehoods of so many conventional wisdoms, he was kind hearted and generous. For all of his good deeds, he was never dull and earnest -- his joy, humor and love of life were positively infectious. Maren, Bernard and the other members of your family, I am so sorry.

01-15-2008 3:51 PM -- By: Wendy Brafman,  From: U.S. (currently D.C.)  

Thor is a friend from Kosovo days, and I was looking forward to catching up with him in D.C. next month. He encouraged me to take a trip after Kosovo that lead to my admission to the Foreign Service, so I am so grateful for his friendship and encouragement.

01-15-2008 3:50 PM -- By: Amy Farkas,  From:  

It deeply saddened me to learn that Thor is no longer with us in the same way. It was a blessing to have met Thor in Kosovo and create so many memories. I wish his family and friends peace during this difficult time.

01-15-2008 3:40 PM -- By: Erzen Bunjaku,  From: Prishtina, Kosova  

ALWAYS friendly, ALWAYS giving, ALWAYS ... there!

NEVER will be forgotten!

I cannot hold my tears

My condolences to Thor's Family and his Loved ones


01-15-2008 3:29 PM -- By: Patrick Quigley,  From: Virginia  

I once shared a ride to Atlanta from D.C. with Thor in December, 1990. We must have been heading down for Haynes' New Year's Eve party. Thor was all excited about Gulf War I and trying to figure out how he could be one of the first consultants, complete with fax machine, onto the beach at Kuwait City. Last year, I had dinner with some other Emory friends, and Thor stories took up a chunk of the evening. Even though I have not seen much of him in years, I will miss him.

01-15-2008 3:21 PM -- By: Chris and Noah Zahrobsky,  From: currently in Beirut, Lebanon  

We met Thor in Pristina, Kosovo through his larger than life weekly Ultimate Frisbee games. We still can't believe it. The international community has truely lost a good guy. Thor, we are so lucky to have met you. You made our time in Pristina feel more like home, thank you. Until we all meet again.


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