(Editor’s Note: Marc Hooper, who now lives in California, writes a remembrance of his mom, Deni Hooper, who would have been 95 on August 6, 2022. My family grew up with the Hoopers, and I have many fond memories of hanging around their horse barn on Kroupa Road and attending the horse shows at Bowers Harbor Park, where Deni was an announcer. Check out Deni’s cherry pie recipe here, and read this story about Deni’s mom, Florence Kneip, and her “Little Bookshop at Bowers Harbor.” There are still Hoopers on Kroupa Road; Bruce (Marc’s brother) and his wife Terry run Hooper’s Farm Gardens. -jb)
Deni Luise Kneip married Bruce Rex Hooper on Jan. 28, 1951, at the First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon, Indiana, where her family lived. He brought her north to the Old Mission Peninsula, where they farmed and raised a family of five kids on Kroupa Road, north of Bowers Harbor.
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Deni was born on August 6, 1927, and never failed to mention to us kids that on that day in 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb called “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan. A second bomb called “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 helping to shorten the war in the Pacific significantly.
When I received my draft notice in 1972, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. After completing boot camp, I was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing in Iwakuni Japan, with an immediate transfer to “The Rose Garden” – my mother loved to grow roses, so why not?
Turns out The Rose Garden is a nice name for the 1st Marine Air Wing base in Nam Phong, Thailand. If you like jet fighter aircraft, and I do, this would have been a place for you at that time – toward the end of the Vietnam War.
As many of you may know, Deni loved to take pictures. Her one request of me as I left for Japan was to purchase a camera for her that we hoped would be less expensive there than in the United States. Upon returning to Japan, I searched for and found an SLR camera – a Canon F-1, which I had shipped to her.
Once the Marine Corps closed The Rose Garden, the task force moved back to Japan. When this happened, I discovered that Iwakuni was only 22 or so miles south of Hiroshima. So, on a Saturday in the Fall of 1973, a fellow Marine and I bought round trip tickets and took a narrow-gauge train ride up to Hiroshima. I am including three pictures from that visit.
Editor’s Note: Here is the wedding announcement of Rex and Deni Hooper in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Feb. 1, 1951, courtesy of Newspapers.com. -jb