Max Lee Hooper|Obituaries – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

26June 2020

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.– Max Lee Hooper died Sunday, June 21, 2020, at the age of 88, surrounded by his family. He was born April 24, 1932, in Mount Vernon, to Harvey L. Hooper and Noma Standerfer Hooper.

He went to Mount Vernon Municipality High School, mastering all significant sports, and belonged to their high school state basketball champion teams of 1949 and 1950. He developed single-game and tournament scoring records that stood for several years. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Popularity.

He got athletic scholarship opportunities from Bradley, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Kentucky and Illinois universities. He chose the University of Illinois, where he earned varsity letters in both basketball and baseball.

As a member of the university’s 1952 Huge 10 champs, he took part in the NCAA Final Four in Seattle, Wash. He was likewise a member of the university’s Huge 10 baseball champions. Among his big delights in life was belonging to the Sigma Chi fraternity.

After graduating with a degree in athletics, he stayed at the university to coach the freshman basketball team for the 1954-1955 season. He wed his college sweetheart, Marilyn Jane Gray, on June 26, 1954, in Lawrenceville.

In 1955, Max was off to fulfill his ROTC commitment in the U.S. Flying Force. He got in pilot training at Kinston, N.C., where he was joined by his wife after her graduation in 1955. He was picked to be a member of the Flying force All Star Basketball Group, which won the All-Service Tournament in Louisville and the National AAU Competition in Denver. The remainder of his military service was at Reese Flying Force Base, Texas, as an instructor pilot.

He worked for several companies, including Denver-Chicago Trucking in Denver, W.R. Grace & & Co. and New England Mutual Life Insurance in Chicago, before moving to Birmingham, Ala., in 1977. In Birmingham, he was president and CEO of Plastic Dressed Corp. and later co-owner of Ultra Drawn Steel.

In retirement, he and Jane explored the entire country in their mobile home for the next 20 years, while likewise visiting children, Gary (Kathy), Jeff (Beth) and Jill; grandchildren, Alexandra, Annelise, Brittany (Nathan), Sammy, Lacey (Sean), Daisy and Tori; and great-granddaughters, Avery and Harper. He is endured by his partner of 66 years, Jane.

Max loved the Lord and was an active member of Christ Church United Methodist for over 40 years, leading lots of endeavors such as the Shepherd Ministry and Typhoon Katrina relief. He published a Christian devotional book called “A Minute in God’s Word.”

An event of life will be held at Christ Church at a future date, due to the COVID-19 constraints.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations might be made to: East Lake Initiative, 6523 1st Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35206, or online at

Source: news-gazette. com

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