John W. Hooper

John W. Hooper, 85, of Whitewater, and previously of Palmyra, passed away Jan. 12, 2022, at Fairhaven Senior Services of Whitewater.

He grew up on a farm near Palmyra and after high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture as a member of the class of 1958. After graduating, he enrolled in the United Methodist short-term mission program.

John trained at Nashville College in the summer of 1958. His travel was delayed by the draft board until February 1959 and was sent to what was then the Belgian Congo.

Among those who met him at the airport in Elisabethville was Peggy Campbell, a short-termer from Texas, who later became his wife.

John was stationed at Mulungwishi. After studying Swahili for three months, he taught in the high school, supervised the boys’ boarding department, and worked with local farmers.

John returned after three years of service and studied for one year at Garrett Seminary and he also married Peggy.

After being accepted by the Board of Global Ministries as full-time missionaries, John and Peggy returned to the Congo after nine months of French study in Grenoble, France. John spent the first year in Mulungwishi doing agricultural work, then moved to the mission station at Sandoa-Mwajinga for the remainder of their current and the next term.

John was the director of the Agricultural and Technical School where he trained students to be farmers and mechanics.

While on furlough in the United States, the couple was blessed with their firstborn, Tom. They were later blessed with a daughter, Ann, who was born in Africa during their second term. In 1971, they returned to the family farm in Palmyra where their daughters, Susan and Karen, were born.

In 1997, John decided to retire from farming, and the couple was accepted for a year of volunteer mission service with the organization Food for the Hungry International. Assigned to Marsabit, Kenya, he worked with the agricultural division while Peggy was hostess for the FHI Guest House.

After their service in Kenya, they retired to Bedford, Virginia, for four years and then to Johnson Creek, until 2018 when they moved to Fairhaven.

The years of living in Africa brought many wonderful experiences to John and Peggy. They consider their lives blessed in many ways. They thoroughly enjoyed the people they met and worked with during their time on the mission field. To see God work in another culture is truly exciting and their experiences will never be forgotten. John was a good man who served the Lord and others and he will be dearly missed.

He is survived by: his loving wife of 59 years, Peggy Hooper of Whitewater; children, Tom (Shelley) Hooper of Palmyra; Ann (Ken) Gebhardt of Salmon, Indiana, and Sue (Clinton) Charlton of Bedford, Virgina; grandchildren, Jonathan Hooper, Rachel Gebhardt, Andy Gebhardt, Samuel Hooper, Josiah Hooper and Michael Gebhardt; and his brother, Jerry (Carol) Hooper of Australia.

He is also survived by a number of other relatives and friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents, his dear daughter, Karen Hooper, and his sister, Joan Reinholtz.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Palmyra United Methodist Church, or to the Mulungwishi Theological Seminary Scholarships through the PUMC. Memorials may also be made to Rainbow Hospice.

John’s family will have a memorial service in his honor at a later date.

Gibson Family Funeral Homes of Palmyra and Eagle is serving the family. To place an online condolence, go to

Comments are closed.