Renowned Hunterdon County community leader and founder of the annual Clinton Christmas Parade Frank C. Hooper handed away on Aug. 6 at the age of 90.
Hooper was a distinguished determine all through the Clinton space, serving because the grand marshal of the Christmas Parade since its institution 33 years in the past. He spent over 30 years serving because the president of Shive Wright and Exton Insurance Agency in Clinton, all through which era he was honored by the Clinton Town Council as Citizen of the Year and offered with a key to the city.
Dan Torrone, well-known in Hunterdon County as Dr. D, a private buddy to Hooper who assisted him with the parade since its inception 33 years in the past, wrote his obituary.
“Frank would leave gigantic footprints in Hunterdon County as one of its most enduring, humble and devoted community leaders and volunteers,” he wrote. “Frank was involved in so many aspects of community life it would be impossible to mention them all.”
Hooper’s reminiscence is intertwined along with his 1947 White Mack Fire Truck, which made appearances in a numerous quantity of Hunterdon County occasions all through the years. The automobile was usually seen exterior of faculties in Califon, Clinton, and Hampton on Kindergarten college students’ final day of faculty, and was yearly used to gather lots of of Christmas bushes for Clinton’s yearly Yuletide Bonfire.
A member of the advisory board of the Hunterdon Developmental Center in Clinton for a few years, Hooper additionally beloved giving rides in his automobile to those that attended the group’s annual picnic.
Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach credited Hooper to leaving Clinton with “an amazing legacy.”
“He and his wife both were committed to this community. Everything they did was about Clinton,” Kovach stated. “He’ll be remembered always. Every time the parade happens, every time we see a white fire truck, we’ll always remember Frank Hooper.”
Beyond his recognition as Citizen of the Year, Hooper was named the Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of Hunterdon County and the Citizen of the Year by the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, for which he served on the board of administrators.
“My personal involvement with Mr. Hooper was always just a phenomenal experience,” stated Chris Phelan, president and CEO of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce. “The man was so giving, so personable — and especially for the town of Clinton. He just loved the community, and did so much for the business community.”
Hooper obtained a Paul Harris Fellowship from the North Hunterdon Rotary Club and served because the chairman of the primary Great Bloomsbury Hot Air Balloon Races. These races would develop to turn out to be the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning held in Readington Township, an annual occasion presently billed as the most important summertime sizzling air balloon and music pageant in North America.
Hooper and his late spouse, Joan, have been founding members of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lebanon, which was first established in September 1966 throughout the Clinton Community Center.
Hooper was born on Sept. 13, 1929 in Massena, New York, and spent his childhood years on a farm property on the banks of the St. Lawrence River on the Canadian border. He attended faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the place he would turn out to be a member of the monogram membership, receiving his letter for Track.
Hooper additionally served because the president of Class of 1951, though his formal commencement ceremony was delayed after he initiated a prank wherein he and a bunch of different college students locked up 50 North Carolina State Troopers of their barracks.
Upon graduating from faculty, Hooper joined the Army and accomplished his coaching at the Infantry Leadership School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Officer Candidate School at Fort Bliss, Texas. He served as a Battalion employees officer and Artillery Battery Commander through the Korean War.
After he was discharged, Hooper labored at Sinclair Oil in Augusta, Georgia till he was transferred to the house workplace at Rockefeller Center in New York City. There, he met his wife-to-be, Joan, at Christmastime in 1956. They married in 1958 and have been devoted to one another. She handed away in January 2019.
An avid outdoorsman, Frank and his household vacationed at the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York each summer time. Amongst different actions, he and his late son, William, loved backpacking within the Tetons of Wyoming and the High Sierras in California in addition to canoeing throughout the Yukon River in Canada and the Missouri River in Montana.
In his obituary, Hooper’s buddy Ron Subber described him as “a large amongst us with out being bodily massive.
“He was the definition of beneficiant. He was everybody’s position mannequin for residing a life absolutely,” Subber stated. “If you had Frank Hooper as your friend you were indeed lucky.”
In an interview with NJ Advance Media, Subber additional emphasised how beloved Hooper was all through the Clinton community and past.
“I knew Frank for forty years, and I never very heard anybody say one bad thing about him,” Subber stated. “If the world were made up of Frank Hoopers, it would be a better place.”
Martha Wood, Subber’s spouse, labeled Hooper “Mr. Clinton,” stating he was “the heart and soul of a small town.”
“He got us to do all kinds of great things. He got me to be the first Big Bird in the Christmas parade. And he had this really wild idea to have camels in the Christmas parade and have Ron and I ride on them,” Wood stated.
“He needed somebody to pay for it,” Subber laughed.
Frank is survived by his niece Betty Hooper Wroblewski; her husband, Andrew; his nephews Carter and David Hooper; and 10 great-nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his dad and mom William and Primrose; his spouse Joan; his daughter Amelia; his son William; and his brothers Laurence and Billy Hooper.
Because of the continued coronavirus pandemic, a public celebration of Hooper’s life shall be introduced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions could be made to the William Randolph Hooper Foundation Inc. at 15 West Main St. in Clinton in care of the Clinton Christmas Parade.
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