Don Hesch, former president of the AMOA and patriarch of Chicagoland’s prominent A.H. Entertainers music, games and vending routes, died Sunday, Jan. 14. He was 91 years of age and passed peacefully at home surrounded by family, according to his son Chris Hesch.
On hearing the news, the AAMA’s Peter Gustafson called it “sad news, but Don sure had a good, long run in this business.” Others chimed in with similar condolences.
“He was the quintessential street location operator during his lengthy career,” said RePlay publisher Eddie Adlum. “It’s not commonly known, but Don’s guidance and help during his tenure with the AMOA went a great distance in keeping the organization going as we know it today.”
A.H. Entertainers, now known as the A.H. Management Group, began back in 1939 with a few machines set around their headquarters in Arlington Heights. They moved to Rolling Meadows and grew into a huge route combine that covered Illinois and Southern Wisconsin street location and other venues.
In early 2020, the Hesch family organization merged with J&J Ventures based in Schamburg, selling out their entire interests in the amusement machine business, with Don retiring from the field.
The funeral service will take place on Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 1454 S.W. Mapp Road in Don’s retirement town of Palm City, Fla. (Note: A viewing previously scheduled for Jan. 29 will not be held.)
(At press time, RePlay learned that Don has been nominated to be inducted into AAMA’s Hall of Fame at the coming Las Vegas Expo; we’re rooting for him to be included in this assemblage of the industry’s most notable people and machines.)