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Dedication of Allen Terrace’s computer room to Sue Hooper draws family, residents and friends
Dozens of residents, family members and friends of the late Sue Hooper crowded into the computer room at Allen Terrace on Aug. 15 to talk about the bubbling personality, kindness and computer skills of the former president of the Northville Housing Commission at a celebration to honor her legacy and dedicate the room as The Sue Hooper Technology Center.
Northville Housing Commission President Genie Nehs said, “Sue’s knowledge base was fantastic. She was our computer techie. Everyone flocked to her classes. She was an excellent teacher. She was a legend at Allen Terrace and her legacy will live on: We thank you for all you have given us to remember you by.”
One of the residents said she called Sue at 10 o’clock at night with a computer problem and Sue said that she would be right over. “She made me feel like I knew what I was doing,” said Evelyn Longmire.
While serving on the commission from 1999 to 2010 and as president in 2005, Sue took an interest in setting up a computer room at Allen Terrace. She began to collect computers, refurbish them with the help of her son, Seth, and set them up for seniors to use. She also visited the apartments of seniors who had received computers from their families but were afraid the machines would blow up if they turned them on.
Her computer skills are legendary. She started as a neophyte, not knowing a thing about the guts of a computer but she learned a lot from Seth. They would network their computers together and talk by phone, since he was in Texas. And one day, he came to find out that his mother was more of an expert in computers than he was. She was a fast learner and went on to network computers together.
The adult children of Sue and her husband Kirk began to hear about the computer successes of the residents at Allen Terrace. “She (my mother) told me that one of the residents got an e-mail from a grandchild. We were as thrilled as she was with the ability of that resident to learn how to open an e-mail and read it,” said Seth. “The Allen Terrace family has expanded – it goes beyond residents.”
At the dedication, Allen Terrace Director Sherry Necelis said, “She was like the mom of the house. She would do anything for anybody at any time. Once when the power went out during a storm, she walked the halls with me to find the power outlets so we could use the generator.”
“There is nobody like Sue Hooper. She loved life,” Necelis said.
Barbara Ziemba, administrative assistant at Allen Terrace, said that Sue interviewed her for the position she currently holds and asked her questions to find out if she was in tune with the needs of people who are aging. She wanted staff who could not only do the job but also be a source of support to the residents.
“She made Northville a better place to live,” Ziemba said.
One resident recalled that Sue, who also served on the beautification committee, was one of the first to pitch in to purchase branded shirts for the group of volunteers so passers-by wouldn’t be startled to find them in a flower bed deadheading roses on city property.
After people shared their stories about Sue, her husband Kirk was asked to unveil the plaque, hung next to the door. He was so moved by the event that he asked Seth to read the words on the plaque.
After the plaque unveiling, family and guests gathered in the activity room at Allen Terrace to eat cake and ice cream, as they continued to share stories, smiles, tears and hugs.
Sue died on April 15, 2016 at the age of 59. She and Kirk T. Hooper had been married for 35 years. The couple has three children: Seth Hooper (married to Kimberly), Lori Datson (married to William), and Tyler Hooper (married to Tiffany). Sue’s mother Nyda Barrix also attended the dedication, along with her siblings Stephen Barrix and Marsha Barrix. Sue left behind four beautiful grandchildren: Miles, Madison, Brenna and Colter.