John Hoeschler Obituary (2022) – La Crosse, WI


John Gregory Hoeschler

ST. PAUL, MN – John Gregory Hoeschler of St. Paul, MN died Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in his home, embraced and celebrated by his family. His body was depleted by advanced prostate cancer.

Jack was born in La Crosse, WI February 4, 1942, to an athletic, exciting, and hands-off family, which made him an independent thinker and “do-er” throughout life. He was an excellent student in his hometown schools before he ventured off to Georgetown University.

Jack was an outstanding scholar and athlete throughout life, curious about people and ideas, ready to listen, ready to expound. At Georgetown he was invited to the elite Honors program and named the Robert Duffey Scholar-Athlete of 1964, the first oarsman in Georgetown history to be so honored. He won a Root-Tilden scholarship to NYU Law School-a full, three-year ride awarded to no more than 20 students a year across the 10 Federal Circuit Court Districts.

He married Linda Lovas Hoeschler, a New Yorker, in August 1966; Their union of strong, like minds was wholly committed to family, community, and the arts. After law and graduate school they worked as volunteers in the Chicago “hood,” where Jack joined others to change the “system” as he defended the underdog and locality and sued predatory institutions. These experiences formed the charter for much of his later work in life. The couple and baby daughter, Kristen, moved to St. Paul in 1968, where Jack joined Doherty Rumble and Butler, Minnesota’s oldest law firm.

He rapidly grew DRB’s real estate practice and left the firm on friendly terms to start his own practice in 1982. Clients and lawyers praised his efficient, creative application of elegant law to develop simple, solutions. Jack’s interest in everyone allowed him to connect respectfully with people from all stations of life. Among his favorite clients were immigrants, whom he counseled pro bono. He seldom turned away anyone who needed help.

Jack was a civic activist. As chair of the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation, he spearheaded re-orientation of the city toward the Mississippi; he coordinated legal and financial resources for historic preservation of Rice Park (Ordway, Landmark and the St. Paul Hotel). His ardent board memberships included the Science Museum of Minnesota (the new 1978 museum was nicknamed, “the house that Jack built”), Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Humanities Commission, Minnesota Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Guthrie Theater (30 years), Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Dance Theater, Citizens League, Viterbo University (La Crosse), Library of Congress, and World Press Institute.

Jack and Linda’s personal passion was artists support of individual visual and performing whom they counseled, hosted at home art showings and recitals, and whose artworks and music they commissioned to life’s highlights-not only Jack and Linda’s but of friends and acquaintances, too. Jack formed a music commissioning club on the model of an investment club, to involve others in Hoeschlers’ personal passion for new music; the Minnesota Commissioning Club has become a model for artist support throughout the nation.

Among numberless interests, including poetry, voracious reading from his extensive personal library and scholarly articles about the issues of the day, Jack devoted countless hours to “moss wrangling” and oversight of the Hoeschlers’ well-known Japanese garden surrounding their St. Paul home.

With Linda, Jack was a world traveler many times over-they led their family on frequent trips, foreign and domestic. A highlight was the family’s six-month adventure around the globe in 1986-7.

Jack’s best and favorite role was as a loyal husband and actively involved father and grandfather, Dad to Kristen Hoeschler O’Brien (Terry) and Frederick “Fritz” (Julia), and superlative grandfather to Jack and William O’Brien, his “guys” .” While Jack was in hospice the “guys” appeared daily, sang, played violin and relived their many athletic expeditions, cultural trips and ongoing lectures with their beloved grandfather.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, James and Janet Hoeschler. He is survived by his siblings, Jake, Janice and Jay Hoeschler.

We will celebrate Jack’s life, 10:00 am, Monday, August 22, at St. Olaf Church in Minneapolis; brunch to follow at the Minneapolis Club across the street.

The Hoeschler family extends its deepest appreciation to our friends and family who fed and comforted us through Jack’s 13-month decline, plus Jack’s magnificent HealthPartners caregivers, particularly Drs. Balkrishna Jahagirdar and Kelly Frisch. Donations in Jack’s honor may go to the Cancer Research Fellowship fund (which Jack helped inaugurate) c/o Regions Hospital Foundation; his beloved Georgetown University crew; the World Press Institute; local arts organizations; or any cause that “pays it forward” to help others have a better, more meaningful life.

Published by La Crosse Tribune on Jun. 26, 2022.

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