David Elliott Hooper, 88, of Georgetown, Texas, passed away peacefully on Monday after after a long battle with cancer. As in life, his beloved wife Martha was by his side.
Hooper was born on Jan. 3, 1935, to Raymond and Doris Hooper in East Rutherford, N.J. After attending the United States Naval Academy through an appointment from Congress (1953-56), he completed his studies by graduating from University of Pennsylvania as part of the class of 1961.
After graduating with a degree in International Relations, Hooper began a storied career in the horse racing industry that spanned over 60 years. He held many regulatory positions, including executive secretary of the Illinois Racing Board, and served as a steward at the state and racetrack levels in eight states. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Pete Pedersen Award from the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, which recognizes professional excellence, integrity, and benevolent consideration in the performance of their duties. Often referred to respectfully as “Judge,” Hooper was regarded widely as being fair in his stewardship and interactions with fellow horsemen, while prioritizing the ethics of the game and safety of the jockeys. He retired in 2020, his final position as steward at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.