Don Hesch in the Hall


Former president of the AMOA, ICMOA, chairman of the NAMA and patriarch of Chicagoland’s A.H. Entertainers music, games and vending routes was inducted into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame at the recent Amusement Expo. Hesch, who died early this year on Jan. 14, was previously a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Illinois association.

Don Hesch and his wife Sue in 1998 when he served as AMOA president. The year marked the association’s 50th anniversary.

His parents, Anthony and Isabel, founded an operating company in 1939. In 1959, he and his brother Wayne joined the family business. Due to untimely deaths of his father and brother, Don was left to run the company with his mother. Later, his sons Craig, Mark and Chris, and Wayne’s son-in-law Chris McSwain, joined the company.

The sprawling route covered the state of Illinois and a big piece of southern Wisconsin. The organization eventually changed its name to A.H. Management Group and was sold partially in 2020 and the balance in 2023, with J&J Ventures being a principal buyer.

“My dad was a mentor to many operators in the industry over the years, being one of the best listeners you could ever find,” said Don’s son Chris. “He was a real, active family man as well as a guy who loved life…loved attending sporting events, and even enjoyed snowmobiling, boating and, as many know, golf.”

Said RePlay publisher Eddie Adlum: “He was the quintessential street location operator during his lengthy career. It’s not commonly known, but Don’s guidance and help during his time as AMOA’s president went a great distance in keeping the organization going as we know it today.”

The photo above is of Don from that same year with an old Canteen gum machine and a rare Gabel Charme jukebox.


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