Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 10, 2010, pg. 11
This week marks the 65th anniversary of the murder of Senator Warren Greene Hooper (b. May 2, 1904, d. January 11, 1945). A native of Alhambra, California, Warren came to Albion in 1935 and became advertising manager for the Albion Recorder. He only stayed with the Recorder for a year. In 1936 he was off to Berlin, Germany as a free lance writer to cover the 1936 International Olympics. Upon his return from overseas, Hooper purchased a gas station on the corner of Austin Avenue and N. Albion St. and operated it for nearly a year. In those days gas stations also repaired tires. It is rumored that Hooper would have neighborhood boys put nails on Austin Avenue down the road coming into town so the tires would become flat by time the cars arrived in front of his station.
It was in 1939 that Hooper entered politics and was elected as member of the State House of Representatives from the Calhoun County 1st district, serving from 1939-44. He served three terms. Critics pointed out that Hooper’s surname was the same as former U.S. House of Representative member (1927 to 1934), the late Joseph Hooper of Battle Creek. People unwittingly thought the two were related somehow and the name recognition no-doubt helped Warren.
Warren was elected to the State Senate, 9th District in November, 1944, and assumed his new position in January 1945.
Hooper however was caught up in a grand jury investigation, and admitted taking bribes. He agreed to testify about corruption and bribery that existed in the Michigan legislature, and planned to name names. For that reason he was murdered on January 11, 1945: three days before he was scheduled to testify. It was a brutal gangland style execution on M-99 north of Springport between Kilmer and Harshay Roads.
“The Hooper murder has endured as one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in the annals of Michigan crime,” stated authors Rubenstein and Ziewacz in their 1987 book “Three Bullets Sealed His Lips.” This book is filled with Albion references and personalities. A sequel to the book, “Payoffs in the Cloakroom, the Greening of the Michigan Legislature” was published in 1995. Another book, “The Purple Gang” by Paul Kavieff (2000) also deals with the Hooper murder.
Hooper’s tombstone in Riverside Cemetery states, “With Honesty He Lived; for Honesty he was Taken.” Perhaps a State of Michigan historical marker ought to be erected by the murder site north of Springport. From our Historical Notebook we present a photo of Hooper’s 1944 Senate campaign poster. How many of our readers know who really shot Senator Warren G. Hooper?
Warren Hooper for State Representative 1944
All text copyright, 2015 © all rights reserved Frank Passic