Born in Richfield, Utah in 1950, Richard Craig Hooper was a free-thinker who liked to understand how things work and their history. As a teenager, he worked at Lagoon (the local amusement park outside Salt Lake City) and in his spare time tinkered with vacuum tubes and transistors and read books about English history, never expecting that in his later years he would get to virtually explore the streets of London from a laptop. He played the accordion. He attended the University of Utah and co-owned Mobile Television, a TV sales and repair store. For most of his life, an enormous dictionary held pride of place in his living room. He would consult it during conversation, discovering unexpected etymologies and linguistic quirks. You can imagine his delight when Wikipedia first appeared.
Richard believed in liberty of all kinds but most of all the right to be left alone so long as you weren't hurting others. He was a successful salesman for McKesson—a drug-dealer, as his sister Debbie joked—traveling to pharmacies and learning innumerable roads and diners in the middle of the country between the Rockies and the Mississippi. He was known for his friendliness and superior mustache. But he bristled at being someone's employee. So he eventually quit the corporate world and pursued his dream of running another small business, South Beach Grocery on the coast of Oregon, which he co-owned with Lloyd Grantham and operated until 2011. His lovely neighbor, the late Nedra Joham, got him excited about botany, so in his spare time he cultivated a beautiful garden with the help of plant expert Susan Coast. He spent many happy days in South Beach with close friends John and Ginger Johnston.
Richard didn't think he would stay in Oregon forever. Too rainy, he said, though good for the flowers. But it was his final resting place in the end. He passed away at home in South Beach on September 7, 2021. He is survived by his mother, Anna Hooper, sisters, Marianne (Don) Jerome and Debbie Ashley, sons James (Lynsee) Knowlton and Ryan (Molly) Tack-Hooper, grandchildren Alexander, Milo, and Finn, nieces, and nephews. There will be no formal services. He would rather have you do whatever you might otherwise enjoy doing, in all the infinite diversity of what that might be, and maybe spend the gas money on something that brings you or someone else a little joy. Those seeking to remember his life are encouraged to leave comments on his Facebook page. If he were still around and reading this, he might tell you that the word "obituary" comes to us from a Latin euphemism for death, "to go to meet," and then crack a joke about having to go to one last meeting. He will be dearly missed.