Cover photo for Herbert Dessner's Obituary
Herbert Dessner Profile Photo
1928 Herb 2023

Herbert Dessner

August 21, 1928 — October 21, 2023


Herbert Dessner, of Waltham, formerly of Painesville Township and Mentor, Ohio, passed away on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at Lahey Hospital Medical Center in Burlington. He was 95.

Herb was born on August 21, 1928, in New York City, the son of the late Irving and May (Colb) Dessner. He grew up and received his education in Bozrah, Connecticut, graduating high school from the Norwich Free Academy. Immediately after high school, Herb enlisted in the United States Army to serve his country during World War II. After the war ended, he focused on his education and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's five-year co-op program where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering. It was during his time at MIT that Herb developed lifelong passions for tennis and bridge.

MIT's program led him to Indiana for a co-op position at General Electric, where he also found the love of his life, South Bend, Indiana native Shirley Ann Gross. The couple married in May of 1952.  After Herb completed his education, Shirley and Herb settled in the Cleveland suburb of Mentor, Ohio where they would raise their family and spend seventy cherished years of marriage together before Shirley’s passing in 2022.

Following his formal education, Herb began a successful career as an electrical systems design engineer at Reliance Electric Company, which later became part of Rockwell Industries. His work took him all over the world with trips to South America, Korea, Japan, and Europe. The greatest perk of these travels was being able to share these experiences with Shirley.

Apart from his academic achievements and professional success, Herb took immense pride in his family. Some of their happiest memories centered around summer days spent on Lake Erie in the nineteen-foot racing sailboat they built together in their garage. The family also enjoyed many vacations on Cape Cod and trips to see family in New York, Indiana, Connecticut, and Florida. In addition to their travel adventures to almost every continent, including Antarctica, Herb and Shirley's shared interests included square dancing, playing couples bridge, and being active members of a couples club at the Mentor United Methodist Church.

Herb had an insatiable appetite for knowledge; his formal education never truly ended. He stayed sharp as a tack, possessing the mind of a 25-year-old coupled with the wisdom gained from his ninety-five years of life experience. He loved to stay up to date on current events and was always sociable, engaging in spirited conversations about the happenings of the world while playing  an evening game of cribbage for 70 years with Shirley in Ohio, and more recently in Waltham with his daughter, Deb.  

Herb will be remembered for his witty, dry sense of humor and endless supply of dad jokes. However, he will be most missed for his welcoming spirit, unwavering kindness, and unfailing patience.

In addition to his beloved wife Shirley Ann (Gross) Dessner, he was also predeceased by his son Craig Dessner and his brother the late Burton Dessner.

Herb leaves his daughter, Deborah José of Waltham; his grandchildren, Paul (Mary) José of Pueblo, Colorado, Phillip (Taryn Hye) José of Des Moines, Iowa, Annie José of Boston, and Amanda (Brandon) Lovejoy of Willowick, Ohio; his great-grandchildren, Hazel and Piper José, and Sophia and Brandon, Jr. Lovejoy along with nieces, many precious cousins, and their families with whom he was very close.

Family and friends will honor and remember Herbert’s life by gathering for calling hours in the Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main St. (Rte. 20), Waltham, on Wednesday, November 1st from 4 to 7 p.m. His memorial service will be held at First Parish Church, located at 50 Church St. in Waltham on Thursday morning, November 2nd at 11 a.m. Herb will be laid to rest later in Ohio, the place he called home for 70 years.

Memorials in Herb's name may be made to Chaplains on the Way: PO Box 541236, Waltham, MA, 02454, or Waltham Alliance for Teaching, Community Organizing and Housing: WATCH CDC, 24 Crescent Street, Suite 201, Waltham, MA 02453, .

Those wishing to view the broadcast (and recording) of Herb's Service please use this link:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Herbert Dessner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree