Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 6, 1898
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
BranchRoyal Flying Corps
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 2, 1977
Age at Death78
Buried AtSouth River Cemetery, South River, Ontario

Hooper, William Albert

William Albert Hooper was born on 6 May 1898 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) Ontario. His father Frederick Thomas Hooper was born in England while his mother Mary Sarah O’Sullivan was from Ireland, the couple marrying in 1883 in Detroit, Michigan. His father had worked on the construction of the MacKenzie canal at Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario in the mid 1870’s and then acquired his captain’s papers to run steamboats on Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. Children born to the couple in Rat Portage were Charles Thomas (Tom) (1883-1960), Mary Kathleen (1885-1918), John Ambrose (Jack) (1888-1933), Isabella Helen (1890), Frederick James (Jim) (1892-1970), Sarah Margaret (Madge) (1895-1973), William, and Frances Elizabeth (1901-1971).

In April of 1918 the Kenora Miner and News reported that W Hooper, a former Kenora boy now living in Winnipeg, had joined the Royal Flying Corps. Further details of his service are unknown.

William’s brother Jack enlisted with the 61st Battalion in Winnipeg in January of 1916 and served in England with the Provisional Battalion at Bramshott and subsequently with the 18th Reserve Battalion. He was discharged from service as medically unfit in March of 1918 in Winnipeg. His brother Jim signed his officer’s paper as a Lieutenant with the 94th Battalion in June of 1916 in Port Arthur and served overseas as a Signal Officer with the 58th Battalion. He was discharged from service in April 1919 in Toronto.

After the war William attended the School of Forestry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. On 31 December 1924, in Detroit, he married Burnice McNamara. Born in 1898 in Genoa, Michigan, Burnice was the daughter of James and Celia (née Hyne) who had married in 1875 in Brighton, Michigan. She had been attending the School of Nursing in Ann Arbor.

According to a later newspaper article, the couple lived in Kenora from 1927 to 1946, William listed on various voters lists as a forester. He served in WW2 from 1939 to 1945 with the Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland. After the war the family moved to Sundridge, Ontario, William continuing to work as a forester The couple gave birth to two known children, Sally and Michael. In July of 1974 they moved to North Bay where a celebration for their 50th wedding anniversary was held that December at the Leisure World Nursing home.

William died on 2 February 1977 at the nursing home. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Burnice, daughter Sally and son Michael. He was predeceased by his father Frederick (1924) and mother Mary (1935), both in Kenora, as well as all of his siblings. William is interred in the South River Cemetery in South River, Ontario, a community about ten kilometres north of Sundridge.

By Judy Thorburn

Grave marker photograph by bblakel #48212523,