In Memory of

Thomas

Leon

Hooker

Obituary for Thomas Leon Hooker

Thomas (Tom) Hooker, 89, died at his home in Nashua, New Hampshire on Thursday morning, May 5, 2022. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 50 years, Elinor Williams Hooker. Tom was the youngest of six children, born on January 29, 1933 to the late James and Doshia Mathis Hooker. A native of Moultrie, Georgia, he graduated from the Moultrie Public School for Colored Youth. He worked his way through his first two years of college at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia on farms, stacking peanuts and loading watermelons to be sold in farmers’ markets. He moved to Columbus, Ohio to enroll at The Ohio State University and worked nights in a hotel kitchen and later for the U.S. Postal Service until he graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree. He later earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

From 1966 to 1975, Tom served as Director of the New Hampshire Division of Welfare, where he was credited with developing a network of day care centers, home care programs, and residential care facilities; automating the medical assistance and income maintenance processing systems; implementing the New Hampshire Medicaid and Food Stamp programs; and several other innovations. From 1975-1979, he served as Deputy Secretary for Family Assistance with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. There, he was responsible for administering the income maintenance, Food Stamp, Medicaid, quality control, and child support enforcement programs. He established the first investigation unit in the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, focusing on Medicaid and Food Stamp program fraud. Tom returned to federal service in several capacities from 1979 until his retirement in 1998, serving as Title XX program consultant; Aid to Families of Dependent Children (AFDC) supervisor; and Regional Administrator of Administration on Aging programs which served sixteen jurisdictions from Maine to Virginia, the Territories of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

While the foundation of his character was shaped by his upbringing in the Deep South, Tom came to love and appreciate all things about New England culture. He was an enthusiastic fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, and Boston Red Sox. His genuine interest in the welfare of people and knowledge of local, state, national, and international affairs remained constant until the end. He was a humanitarian of the highest order. He always hoped for the best and only looked in one direction—forward, with great hope, expectation, and optimism about what the next day would bring. He epitomized the power of the human spirit to persevere and move ahead in life regardless of the challenge.

Tom is survived by his son Brian and a host of nieces and nephews residing in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, California, and South Carolina.

Services: Tom will be privately entombed with Elinor at The Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Davis Funeral Home 1 Lock St, Nashua, NH, is handling cremation arrangements. Memorials may be directed in Tom’s memory to the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, Inc. 222 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801. (603) 883–3401 – “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER.”