Thadious Wayne Hooper, 86, of the Speedwell community, Cullowhee, died Sunday February 7, 2016 following a period of declining health.
Wayne was born August 21, 1929, in Speedwell to the late William Clinton and Maude Bumgarner Hooper. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Kenneth, Raymond and Ralph Hooper, an infant sister, and a nephew, Anthony Hooper. Wayne was a 1948 graduate of Cullowhee High School. He joined the US Army in 1951 and served as a tank commander during the Korean War. He attained the rank of staff sergeant. Following an honorable discharge from the Army, he graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology. He served as postmaster of the Cullowhee Post Office from 1961 to 1973 then spent the next five years in the construction business. He built and ran the Speedwell General Store during that time. In November, 1978, Wayne was elected Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. He held that elected position until his retirement in 1994. During his tenure as commissioner, he served as President of the NC Association of County Commissioners and was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Wayne was a member of the Speedwell United Methodist Church and a 50-year member of the East LaPorte Masonic Lodge. He enjoyed fly fishing, hunting, camping and travel, and always kept his family members his highest priority.
Wayne is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sue Smith Hooper, daughters Dana Hooper Wiseman and Christi Hooper (husband, Billy Freeman), and a brother, Gordon Hooper (wife, Sue). He is also survived by grandchildren, Brent Wiseman, Mary Grace Davis, Bo Wiseman and Ellie Freeman, twenty-two nieces and nephews and their families.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, February 12, 2016, at 2 pm, at the chapel of Appalachian Funeral Services in Sylva, with the Reverend Verlin Bryson officiating, assisted by Dana Tucker. The family will receive friends Friday from noon until 2 pm at Appalachian Funeral Services. A private interment will take place at the Hooper-Speedwell Cemetery.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hooper-Speedwell Cemetery Fund, care of Janette Fox, 376 Silver Fox Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723. An online registry is available atwww.appalachianfuneralservices.com