Born in Willochia, SA, on April 15, 1900, Walter Thomas Hooper (1900–1975) became a Seventh-day Adventist in 1916 as a result of attending cottage meetings. Initially a farmer, in 1924 he entered denominational work as a colporteur before marrying Annie Hall in 1927. Hooper did not complete his formal training for ministry at Avondale College, as he was appointed into a ministerial position in September 1928 by the South Australian Conference while still a student.
There are a number of versions of the denominational employment history for Walter Hooper in the service record documentation archives of the South Pacific Division, but it would seem he accumulated two years of service credit for his literature evangelism work between 1924 and 1928 before being engaged in pastoral work in South Australia for almost seven-and-a-half years to early 1936.
He then spent a little less than two years as youth director in the Western Australian Conference (February 1936–October 1937) before accepting an appointment as the superintendent of the Fiji Mission. This appointment was short-lived (November 1937–June 1938), as by July 1938 he was in youth work again, this time in the South New South Wales Conference, before being called to Sydney to the Australasian Union Conference office as associate youth director, working with the youth director, EL Minchin, from January 1942 to December 1943.
For five years from January 1944 he was the president of the Queensland Conference and while in that role retained his interest in youth work, as it was during his administration that the Maranatha youth campsite on the banks of the Maroochy River was purchased and furnished, largely with war surplus supplies. Primitive initially, it was the beginning of a permanent youth facility that was later developed as time and money permitted.
When the new Trans-Commonwealth Union Conference was established, Hooper was its first president, serving in that role for just two years from January 1949 to the end of 1950. He was then elected as the president of the Victorian Conference, remaining there until February 1954. At that point the formal service record ends because of an indiscretion. He had accumulated almost 28 years of denominational service.
Following denominational service Walter and Annie lived in Adelaide, where he became a familiar face as he visited hospitals and comforted the bereaved as he stood with them beside many an open grave. For many years he was an important collector in the Conference for the annual Appeal for Missions. He was regarded as the “father” of the Church in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, spending several months annually building up the membership. An often-requested speaker for revival meetings, Hooper spent much of his time studying the Bible with baptismal candidates, right up until a short time before his death.
Walter Hooper died on December 31, 1975, at the age of 75. Annie Hooper died on May 7, 1987.
It was said of him: “Many struggling pilgrims have been greatly helped and encouraged by his timely counsel and sympathetic understanding. Hundreds have made decisions for eternity because of his faithful example and his deep understanding of the Word of God, and through its messages these dear people have found their Saviour.”
Dr Lester Devine is director emeritus of Ellen G White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University.
This article was taken from the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.