By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, April 25, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan released a statement on the passing of former Alabama Chief Justice Perry Hooper Sr. (R) who died at his home in Montgomery on Sunday. Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman and current US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) also released a statement remembering Chief Justice Hooper.
Chairman Lathan said, “Chief Justice Hooper was a titan among Republicans. He was considered a patriarch of our Party. When Justice Hooper began his journey in ALGOP, it was an uphill battle but he never blinked. We can thank trailblazers like Chief Justice Hooper for laying the foundation for our success today. We will always remember and be grateful for his willingness to serve the citizens of Alabama. Chief Justice Hooper was a role model for all in the consistent conservative pathway he followed.”
Lathan said, “Chief Justice Hooper served his country faithfully as a Marine and as a public official throughout most of his life. He served as a probate judge, circuit judge, a long-time RNC National Committeeman for Alabama, and later, as the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.”
Lathan continued, “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Chief Justice Hooper loved his time as a public servant to our state, but his love of his family and friends was his true passion in life. We lift up Alabama Republican Executive Committee member Perry O. Hooper, Jr., his wife Judy and their family with our prayers.”
Sen. Sessions wrote, “I was saddened to learn of the passing of Perry Hooper, Sr., a true trailblazer who helped create the modern Republican Party in Alabama. Through a dogged conviction to his deeply-held principles and plain hard work, Judge Hooper fought and won many campaigns and battles during decades when few elections went to the GOP, first winning election as Montgomery Country Probate Judge in 1964 when the Democratic Party dominated the state.”
Sen. Sessions said, “I remember well his race for the Senate in 1968. I was honored to serve as the Alabama College Chairman of the Hooper for Senate campaign. He was a terrific campaigner and we worked hard but it was not to be. Democrat domination was too strong.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “I also remember his hard-fought 1994 victory in the race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. After the votes were counted, he led by a razor thin 262 votes. Then, state officials decided to count absentee ballots that lacked the requisite notarization or two witnesses. This changed the outcome of the election. I had just been elected Attorney General. My staff and I concluded that this decision was contrary to clear law, that the unwitnessed and un-notarized ballots should not be counted and that Judge Hooper was the winner. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, and Judge Hooper was declared, correctly I believe, the winner and became Chief Justice.”
Senator Sessions concluded, “In many ways this election and Chief Justice Hooper’s victory was an historic moment for the Alabama Republican Party. After this event, Republican victories statewide became common and Democrat victories rare. This determined man played a key role in the creation of a strong, often dominant, Republican Party in Alabama. He was a churchman, a family man, and a patriot. I extend my sincerest sympathy to family and friends at this sad time. But we can all take comfort and pride in his many accomplishments.”
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said, “Riley and I were sorry to hear about the passing of Former Alabama Chief Justice Perry Hooper Sr. Judge Hooper was a great man who dedicated his life to public service, not just to the State of Alabama but to the City of Montgomery. We offer our sincere condolences to the Hooper family as they mourn the loss of their patriarch and an Alabama institution.”
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said, “It was an honor and a privilege to know former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Perry Hooper, Sr. The Chief was a leader in the early days of the modern Republican Party. He was an outstanding Chief Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, he was also a gentleman and a wonderful husband and father.”
Rep. Williams said, “Alabama is a better state because of his service. Our state joins the Hooper family in mourning the loss of the great Alabamian.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “He was a role model for many Republicans and valued public service. He was a Marine veteran and a strong family man. I know Alabamians join me in praying for his family, especially his wife Marilyn and their children, during this time.”
Former State Representative Perry Hooper Jr. (R) told the Associated Press that his father has died at his home in Montgomery.
Hooper served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. After the war he attended Birmingham Southern College and received a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. Hooper had a number of firsts for a Republican. He was elected Montgomery County Probate Judge in 1964. Hooper ran for the US Senate in 1974, but was defeated by Lieutenant Governor James B. Allen (D). In 1974 he was elected Judge of Alabama’s 15th Judicial Circuit. In 1983, he returned to private practice. In 1994, Hooper was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in a bitterly contested election. Chief Justice Hooper retired from the court and was succeeded as Chief Justice by Roy Moore (R).
He and his wife Marilyn Yost had four children.