Zelma Orene (Cross) Hooper passed away January 5, 2021, at Truman Healthcare in Lamar, Missouri. Zelma was born July 6, 1926, in Dade County, Missouri to Ora and Nadine (Bratton) Cross. She graduated from Golden City High School in the Class of 1945, as Salutatorian and went on to college at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar receiving an associate degree in 1947.
She taught country school while continuing her education going summers to college. She began teaching at Ginger Hill (salary $90 per month) for two years and Fairmount for one year. On April 21, 1948, she married H. C. Hooper Jr. and they moved to their farm near Milford and lived in the same house for their entire married life and she lived there until going to Truman Healthcare a few years ago. Their love and devotion to each other was evident to everyone who knew them. After H. C. passed away, Zelma wrote a heartfelt poem to “Her Babe” that was read at a memorial service a few months after the funeral. After their marriage, Zelma was a farm wife for two years before returning to teaching. She then taught at Cherry Grove for four years, Round Prairie for one year, and Cherry Grove again for eight years. Still continuing her education, she received her teaching degree from Southwest Missouri College in Springfield in 1965. She was then eligible to teach in public schools and taught for 24 years at Golden City Elementary and retired in 1987.
Zelma and H. C. enjoyed spending time on their farm and with family and neighbors. Zelma was raised in Harmony Baptist Church with her family and was baptized November 2, 1941. She played the piano there and taught Sunday School until it’s closing. After the closing of the church, she attended Milford Christian Church and Newport Baptist Church.
Zelma enjoyed crocheting, painting, music and made many beautiful afghans. She was accomplished on the piano and still played for residents at the nursing home. Zelma was noted for her beautiful handwriting and attention to details in handiwork. She had read the Bible in its entirety numerous times and read it daily even in her last days at the nursing home. Zelma will always be remembered as always being dressed in style and very meticulous in her appearance. In her final days even, a sweat suit had matching accessories in the nursing home. Zelma was the last “Hooper” from H. C.’s large family and always enjoyed family gatherings with them. She was proud of her heritage in the Higgins/Hagins family and never missed reunions held each year. She always looked forward to the fair and the Round Prairie meeting at the park. Family and traditions were important to Zelma and she and H. C. enjoyed a fulfilling hard-working life as good neighbors and Christians.
Zelma is survived by nieces and nephews, Mark and Jon Cross and Diana Enright and Karen Cross, several cousins and a large extended family. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and two brothers, Duane Cross and an infant Truman Cross. Although having no children of her own, Zelma “mothered” countless children in her career as a teacher and is remembered lovingly by these students. She was honored recently at Golden City School for her years of dedication to teaching.
A graveside service will be held at Greenfield Cemetery Friday, January 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. under the direction of Daniel Funeral Home.
Contributions are suggested and made payable to the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Gideons International or Barton County Library in care of Daniel Funeral Home.
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