Bernadette A. Hooper

April 30, 2015

Hooper, Bernadette Obituary

Bernadette Anne (Farley) Hooper, the matriarch of a large Kearny family, died Thursday at home. She was 91. Born in Newark she lived many years in Kearny before moving to Manalapan in 2998. Visiting will be on Monday from 4 until 8 p.m. at the Armitage Wiggins Funeral Home 596 Belgrove Drive Kearny. Mass Tuesday at 10 a.m. in St. Cecilia's Church and burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Mrs. Hooper was the mother of nine children, the grandmother of 30 and the great-grandmother of 11.

She set an example of life-long achievement for her many grandchildren by graduating from college at the age of 74. Mrs. Hooper began attending Seton Hall University as part of its Senior Citizen program in 1991, four months after the death of her husband. From that first course in public speaking, Mrs. Hooper gained the confidence to begin her college journey. She graduated cum laude in May 1998 with a degree in Fine Arts. She threw herself into the graduation festivities, including attending the Senior Prom with her four adult sons.

Born on Veteran’s Day in 1923 in Newark, Mrs. Hooper, Bernie to her friends, was the daughter of Mary Rose Carr Farley and John Farley, a Newark police officer. She and her younger brother, Jack, now deceased, grew up in Newark as part of a large extended Irish family. She went to work at age 15 after completing a two-year commercial high school program at Blessed Sacrament in Newark. She was employed for a flight school on Frelinghuysen Avenue and actually toyed with the idea of becoming a pilot. Her first lesson consisted mostly of marching through the halls of West Side High School as part of an air patrol exercise and that was that.  

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, she wanted to be a part of the war effort and secured a federal job at an Overseas Shipment area in Newark. After the war ended in 1945 she worked at the Separation Center in Port Newark, where thousands of soldiers came home to the United States. “My job was to welcome them, interview them, and ask them if they wanted to re-enlist. I didn’t get one to say Yes,” Mrs. Hooper reminisced. Subsequently, she was a part of the team that shut down the war effort at Port Newark.

She married Thomas J. Hooper, a reporter for the Newark Evening News, in November 1949. Theirs was a wonderful love affair. Their happy marriage lasted until her husband's death in 1990, after nearly 41 years of marriage.

After her marriage, Mrs. Hooper worked at Abelson’s, a jewelry store in downtown Newark, until she left to have her first child in 1950. Over the next 15 years, nine children were born. Mrs. Hooper returned to work in 1972, when her youngest was in second grade, after her husband, at the time an editor with the News, lost his job when the newspaper closed.

Her first position back in the workforce was as a school crossing guard in Kearny. She then worked for the Credit Exchange in Newark and First Fidelity Bank (now Wells Fargo). She worked as a teller and later ran the Safe Deposit department for the Newark Broad St. Branch. She also worked as a lecturer for Weight Watchers.

A lover of tradition, family celebrations and summer vacations in Ocean Gate, Mrs. Hooper managed to make a party out of marginal holidays (think Valentine’s Day or the last day of school) and a cake mix. She gathered her family together for her birthdays and an annual Christmas Eve talent show, which has been held for almost a half century. She loved receiving presents that were selected especially for her and she loved giving special gifts to those she loved.

Mr. and Mrs. Hooper discovered a great love of travel when they celebrated a special wedding anniversary with a cruise. They traveled to Europe together several times. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Hooper continued to travel to cities around the United States with her daughters. In addition, she began taking an annual trip back to Ireland, home of her ancestors.

A devout Catholic, Mrs. Hooper was an active member of the Rosary Society and served on the parish council of St. Cecilia’s Church in Kearny. She also served as an Archdiocesean representative.

Mrs. Hooper moved to West Orange in 2008 when failing health made it difficult to be alone. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Peg and Bob Huryk, and their three children, Robert, Jim and Maryrose. In addition to the Huryk family, Mrs. Hooper is also survived by: daughters Maryrose Mangan (Gene), Therese Thompson (Don), Agnes Gottlieb (Henry), Bernadette McVey (John) and sons Thomas J. Hooper Jr. (Darla), John Hooper (Karen), Martin Hooper (Peg) and James Hooper (Marilyn), her grandchildren, great grandchildren, her devoted friends, Jean and Owen Kubilus, and eight nieces and nephews from the Farley and Kavalus families.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bernadette Hooper Scholarship Fund at Seton Hall University.




Day:
Time:

What:
Venue:

Where:
May 4, 2015
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Visiting
Armitage & Wiggins Funeral Home

596 Belgrove Drive
Kearny, NJ 07032
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Day:
Time:

What:
Venue:

Where:
May 5, 2015
10:00 a.m.

Mass
St. Cecilia's Church

120 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032
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Day:

What:
Venue:

Where:
May 5, 2015

Burial
Holy Cross Cemetery

340 Ridge Road
N. Arlington, NJ 07032
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