Fr. Gregory Hesse was a character, to be sure. He was something of a caricature of baroque Catholicism, witty, humorous, ultra-Scholastic, and very biting. Initially a worker at the Mercedes-Benz factory, he entered priestly studies in Rome, earned doctorates in Canon Law and Theology from the Angelicum (degrees which he considered worthless), was ordained by Cardinal Marella in St. Peter's Basilica in 1981, and worked as a secretary to Cardinal Stickler in the Vatican for a few years. After orthodoxy forced him into retirement, he discovered the "TLM," although refusing the vintages from Pius XII onward, and, despite, being canonically on good terms with Rome himself, began a loose affiliation with the Society of St. Pius X.
In his theology, Hesse was a Latin neo-Scholastic: precise and legal, although in non-Roman matters he did defer to the Eastern traditions. With regards to the papacy he balanced Vatican I and the limitations on the papacy's power that exist in the Church tradition, glossing over the fact Pius IX did not want them. Most of his opinions were exactly that of Lefebvre's Fraternity at the time: the third Fatima revelation is hidden, the pope is a heretic ("ze pope is a hairy-tik"), the new Mass is probably invalid in the vernacular and so on. Still, he gave his unusual opinions and his less outlandish ideas on the concept of tradition and the immutability of it, including the pope's meddling power, a degree of eloquence his peers the Fraternity lacked. He refused Pius XII's tinkering with Holy Week and passive-aggressively nails him in the video below at 21:30.
Hesse was something of a fop, dressing as a monsignor according to a privilege Urban VIII bestowed on all priests ordained in St. Peter's Basilica (no one tell Fr. Zed!). He was rarely found without a glass of wine and enjoyed the simple wit of G.K. Chesterton. When visiting the United States, he regularly took the opportunity to go after Democrats and to bond with his conservative allies.
Like Quintin Montgomery-Wright, Gregory Hesse was essentially a reactionary traditionalist who held almost all the positions as Marcel Lefebvre. Where he and Montgomery-Wright differed from Lefebvre's priests is character. We are attracted to sympathetic characters in books as we are in real life. Eccentrics make the world interesting, not the dull who suppress their personalities in misguided attempts at humility or careerism. With his love of red wine, right wing politics, American country music, and his German accent, Hesse possessed character in spades. With the passing of so many past characters we are bereft of interesting people in the traditional movement. Let us hope that the good Lord smiles on us again with more vibrant personalities. After all, Ss. Peter and Paul were hardly quiet simpletons who passively repeated what they read in a catechism.