On Thursday, December 31, 2020, Eric Monroe Hooper passed away peacefully at his home in Apopka, Florida, surrounded by loved ones. He was 96 years old. Eric was born in Temple, Georgia on November 16, 1924, to M.M. and Ruby Hooper. He grew up in the Central Park section of Birmingham, Alabama. After graduation from Ensley High School, he attended the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama. Eric later received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. He graduated from the Naval Academy in the June of 1946 and went on to serve two years in the United States Marine Corps.
On December 28, 1947, Eric married the love of his life, Carolyn Green. They were married for 70 years and were blessed with three daughters, Linda, Baby Jane(deceased), and Jan(deceased), and one son, David. In 1948, Eric moved with his father, mother, grandmother and brothers, Foley and Frank, to Apopka to start a farming business, Hooper Farms. After becoming well-known for their Zellwood “Silver Queen” sweet corn, Eric, his brother Frank, and his brother-in-law Pat Green, expanded the business and began a second farming operation known as Frank’s Farm.
Eric loved farming and working with his family, but his greater passions were hunting and traveling. His hunting trips took him throughout the country and to British Columbia, but his true love of hunting was found locally as an original member and leader of several hunting clubs closer to home. Hunting allowed Eric to spend time with family but also many great hunting buddies that, over the years, became family to him as well. Eric’s travels with family and friends took him to destinations throughout the country and abroad to Australia, Europe and China. Eric was a devoted family man. He loved watching three generations of football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, dance, horseback riding and musicals. Whatever activities his children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren were involved in, he was there.
Eric’s commitment to his country and community was known by many. He remained active in local and state politics his entire life because of his hope to improve life for all. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Apopka. In his younger years he worked with the youth and chaired the building committee for the sanctuary that still stands today. Eric was kind and generous to all. He gave of his time and himself so many others could fulfill their dreams in life, education and business.
Eric is survived by his brother, Frank Hooper of Apopka; his daughter, Linda McDermott (Terry) of Apopka; his son David Hooper (Deenie) of Salem, Alabama; his grandchildren Evelyn Carrion (Michael) of Los Angeles, California, Carolyn Peacock (Greg) of New Bern, North Carolina, Matthew Taylor (Misty) of Mt. Dora, Florida, and Jennifer Coursen (Cameron) of Chevy Chase, Maryland; and his great-grandchildren Ruby and Esther Carrion, Lucy and Thomas Peacock, John Thomas and Ellie Taylor, and William Coursen. Eric also had a special bond with many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, as well as many lifelong friends that were like family to him.
Due to current social restrictions and COVID-19, a private family graveside service was held on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the John H. Land Apopka Community Trust or the First United Methodist Church of Apopka, FL.