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Laudatory Memorial for Retired Detective

July 18, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

More than 100 friends, colleagues and loved ones gathered at First Christian Church on Friday to remember Richard Calvert Hooper II, a veteran Huntington Beach homicide detective known countywide for his tenacity.

Hooper died of heart failure July 10 in Fallbrook. He was 55.

"There were never any holes in a case Dick Hooper worked on," Deputy Dist. Atty. Bryan Brown said during the memorial ceremony.

Judges, police officers and prosecutors also recalled his dedication to his job.

"His reputation around our office was just exceptional," said Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Maury Evans before the memorial. "I don't know an attorney who didn't idolize him. He was just one of these hard-working, tenacious detectives."

Colleagues said they felt bad particularly because Hooper died just four years after retiring from the Huntington Beach Police Department, which he joined in 1970. He retired because of his heart problems, friends said.

Hooper, a Southern California native, was known for his "loyalty to family, friends and fishing," said Brown.

Huntington Beach Police Capt. Ed McErlain described his close friend as someone who could be "trusted with your life."

"I worked with him around the clock many times," he said. "Inside that tough shell was a sensitive and caring person who had a strong sense of right and wrong."

Hooper, who served in the Navy, began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer and joined the Crimes Against Persons Unit, where he solved many of the city's homicide cases.

He was a member of the Orange County Homicide Investigators Assn. and told family members that his recognition throughout the field was a highlight of his career. He also belonged to conservation groups.

He is survived by his wife, Jan, of Fallbrook; his mother, Betty Hurtt, and stepfather, Damon Hurtt of Mission Viejo; a daughter, Michelle Hooper of Huntington Beach; and his sister, Vicky Wright of Coto de Caza.

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