George Roane Hooper, born in Tuckasegee, N.C., on July 31, 1937, died peacefully with his loving daughters at his side on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Sylva. He was 82.
George was happily married to Barbara Coggins Hooper for 50 wonderful years. George and Barbara had three daughters that they were incredibly proud of: April (deceased); and surviving two daughters, Beverly (Tom) Turrentine of Tuckasegee, N.C.; and Julie (Kelly) Donaldson of Webster, N.C.
Also surviving are four granddaughters: Lindsey Holland of Tuckasegee, N.C.; Katie (Mike) Minyard of Riverside, Calif.; Sarah and Abby Spiro of Webster, N.C.; one great-grandson, Mason Thomas Holland of Tuckasegee, N.C.; two brothers, Frank (Dorothy) Hooper of Tuckasegee, N.C., Wayne Hooper of California; and many loved nieces and nephews.
George was a lifelong member of Tuckasegee Baptist Church, which he loved and helped to build as a young man. He was a 1955 graduate of Cullowhee High School.
In his younger years, George was a truck driver. Later he worked for the Mead Corporation in Sylva until they closed in 1974. He then purchased and managed Sylva Tire Company for 30 years until he retired.
George was very active in Jackson County and his community. He volunteered at Cullowhee High School whenever possible and served faithfully on the Athletic Booster Club for many years. He served eight years on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners from 1990 until 1998, where he was instrumental in getting the staffed recycling centers in place throughout the county. He served on the Board of Directors for Mountain Projects Inc.; as well as the Board of Trustees at Southwestern Community College for several years; and was a member of the Jackson Macon Swain (JMS) Cattleman’s Association. George was an avid supporter and once a chairman of the Board of Directors for the Cullowhee Fire Department and was very instrumental in getting the Tuckasegee Substation Fire Department started. He was a member of the Jackson County Transit Authority Board and the Emergency Response Commission. Gov. Jim Martin appointed George to the N.C. Advisory Council of the Cherokee Indians.
George loved this community and was well known for helping others in their time of need. He always had a smile on his face and story to share with friends. In his free time, George enjoyed taking care of his black Angus cattle, working on the farm and gardening. He loved spending time with his family and friends camping at the lake.
In his early years, he loved building race cars and dirt track racing. He loved NASCAR, worked in the pits for many years and was a friend of Hall of Famer Richard Petty. After retirement, George spent a lot of time with his truck club buddies, refurbishing antique trucks and traveling to truck shows. He had a passion for antique trucks and was a founding member and served as vice president of the Antique Truck Historical Society (ATHS). He had a love for gospel music and he and his lifelong buddy, Jim Ed Powell, would travel to churches far and wide to listen to some good ol’ gospel music.
George was an honest, hard-working businessman and community leader. He loved his country and served many years in his community as a volunteer. George was a dedicated and loving husband, father, brother and grandfather. He loved spending time with his family. He was so proud of his granddaughters and supported them in all their endeavors.
George was preceded in death by his parents, Monroe Hooper and Florence Parrish Hooper of Tuckasegee; his loving wife, Barbara; infant daughter. April; four brothers, Jim, Robert, Raymond and Harold; and one sister, Dorothy.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, there will be no indoor services. The family wishes to keep everyone healthy and as safe as possible.
However there was a graveside service at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, at the Tuckasegee Baptist Church Cemetery in Tuckasegee, N.C., with Rev. Larry Perry officiating. There were extra chairs and tents set up at the cemetery for guests so people could have a seat and some shade. Everyone was encouraged to wear a mask and practice social distancing if possible. Pallbearers were Neville Owen, Tim Smith, Calvin Autrey, Tim Jones, Jeff Long and Mike Hooper.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Skyland Care Center for their service as well as George’s personal special caregivers: Pat, Patricia, Felicia, Judy and Diane.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in George’s name to the Tuckasegee Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, P.O. Box 6, Tuckasegee, N.C. 28783. Those wishing to purchase flowers may call Ray’s Florist at 828-586-5830.