Trish Hooper, a prolific writer of letters to editors, a published author several times over, a former longtime Woodside resident, and a stalwart of The Sequoias retirement community in Portola Valley, died this morning (Thursday) at 2:30 a.m.
Ms. Hooper fell over the weekend and hit her head, according to Sequoias resident and Almanac Senior Correspondent Marion Softky.
As to Ms. Hooper's age, her family has not yet returned phone calls, but she published a book in the fall of 2009 titled "I'm 87 and You're Not," Ms. Softky said.
Anyone who has tried to get a letter to the editor into a major newspaper or magazine knows the slim chances of success. Ms. Hooper made her own odds, with letters published in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time and Newsweek, Ms. Softky said in a 2004 Almanac article.
In a recent letter to The Almanac, Ms. Hooper weighed in on the new law in Arizona that requires police to check a person's citizenship status if the officer has grounds to believe that the person is here illegally. The country that asks for "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" has lost its bearings, she said.
She had many interests, including hospice, advocacy for birth control through Planned Parenthood, and the Humane Society, Ms. Softky said in an interview.
"If The Sequoias had a key person among the residents, she was it," Ms. Softky said. "This is a real shock and a blow to everybody."
Portola Valley Mayor Steve Toben, citing Ms. Hooper's success in having letters published in major newspapers, called Ms. Hooper "a great citizen. It's a huge, huge, huge loss."
Ms. Hooper and her husband John, a lawyer, had four children and homes in Woodside and San Francisco, the latter of which they sold in 1957 when the whole family picked up and moved to Paris, Ms. Softky said.
The Almanac will publish a comprehensive obituary for the June 9 issue.