Notice regarding Coronavirus... Read More

Hopkins, Walter J

Leave a CondolenceSend FlowersPrint

November 10, 1939 - April 25, 2017

Hopkins, Walter J

Walter James Hopkins Sr.

rn

Sunrise- November 10th 1939

rn

Sunset- April 25th 2017

rn

 

rn

Walter was the first of four children born on November 10th, 1939 in Selma, Alabama to Annie Mae and James Hopkins. His father, an iron welder, and mother a housekeeper, pushed Walter to be an earnest hardworking young man.  He not only helped around the house, he made sure his brothers, Charles and Milton and his sister, Mary Ann, got to school on time, did their homework and stayed out of harm’s way. In the case of Mary Ann, he made sure he stayed in any of her potential boyfriend’s way. A protective brother he definitely was.

rn

 Walter and his family attended Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma.  At the age of twelve, Walter joined the Don Bosco Boys’ and Girls’ Club, and met Fr. Ziter, who mentored Walter and introduced him to Catholicism. Father Nelson Ziter launched the Don Bosco Boys’ and Girls’ Club (1947-1966), named after the patron saint of youth work. The club helped some 150 black youth make the contacts and win the financial assistance needed to attend college. Walter made a choice to convert to Catholicism and was baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of 12. Walter joined various parishes throughout his life as a catholic. He was a devout parishioner of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church for 17 years and his last 34 years, he was a committed member of St. Martha’s Catholic Church in Kingwood, TX.

rn

His mother had a sister, Aunt Corrine, who lived in Montgomery, Alabama. She was a school teacher and did not have children, so Walter would go on the weekends to help her with yard work and taking care of her house.  Being an educator herself, she encouraged Walter to go to college, and he did. Walter was one of the scholarship recipients of the Don Bosco Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Fr. Ziter said he would gladly drive Walter off to school.

rn

 His first year away, he attended Xavier University in New Orleans, LA, then transferred to St. Mary’s Plains University in Dodge City, Kansas. During his internship in Wichita, Kansas in 1962, he met the love of his life, Annunciata “Nuncy” Gradney who was in nursing school at St. Francis.  After two years of courtship, the two married on November 28th 1964.  A year later, the couple had a son, Walter James Hopkins Jr. then 3 years later, had a daughter, Rachel Lynn Hopkins.  

rn

Walter and Nuncy’s life centered on their children and family. Walter had a rich career in Houston with Harris County Hospital District starting at Ben Taub in the pathology lab, and eventually retired as Director of Pathology at LBJ Hospital. Prior to his retirement, Walter chaired the pension committee, where he pushed to have 401k benefits for all employees of the district.

rn

Nuncy, Walter Jr “Wally”, and Rachel were the center of his universe. Family vacations, weekend fishing on the boat during the summer in Galveston, road trips around Texas,  road trips back home to Alabama, Friday “dinner out”,  Wally and Rachel’s Jr High and High School plays, basketball games , track meets, or Sunday Mass at 10am at St. Francis Xavier and Sunday afternoons in Crosby, visiting Nuncy’s parents with the family. Those were the moments he looked forward to and cherished. 

rn

When Walter wasn’t working or with his family, he loved to play poker, fish and hunt. Not too many years went by without family and friends getting fresh fish and venison from one of his hunting and fishing trips. Although Nuncy did the majority of the cooking, Walter also showed his Alabama roots in the kitchen whipping up greens, cornbread, black eyed peas, cabbage, and on special occasions crawfish fettuccini alfredo and pecan praline cake.

rn

When Walter didn’t think his life could be richer, God blessed him with five beautiful grandchildren. Three from his son, Hailey, Hannah, and Alexandria Hopkins and two from his daughter, Sydney and Myles Fucci.  There is nothing he wouldn’t do for any one of them.  You couldn’t tell him that they all weren’t just perfect.  In his eyes, they all were. He made them all feel that each of them were “his favorite.” His days of going to games, track meets and plays started all over again but it was better this time, it was for his “Fab Five”. They were all so proud to have their “Papa” there cheering them on and telling them how he used to leave the competition in the dust on the court and field.

rn

Walter’s legacy is bountiful and abundant. His family, colleagues, friends and neighbors, will all remember him for his warrior like presence and understood strength that he always seemed to carry with him, his devoted love for his family and his endless determination. His nieces and nephews nicked name him “Pepper” as he would always bring the “heat” if he needed to, yet was a servant for others behind the scenes. 

rn

Walter is preceded in death by his father; James Hopkins; mother; Annie Mae Hopkins, grandmother;  “MyHop”, aunt; “Aunt Corinne”,  brother in law; Napoleon Allen, brother in law; Joseph “Burns” Gradney, sister in law; Ruby Gradney.

rn

He is survived by his wife, Annunciata Hopkins, his son, Walter James Hopkins Jr, his daughter, Rachel Lynn Fucci and her husband, Andrew Fucci.  His five grandchildren: Walter Jr’s children; Hailey Hopkins, Hannah Hopkins, Alexandria Hopkins. Rachel’s children; Sydney Fucci and Myles Fucci. His brother; Charles Hopkins and his wife Barbara Hopkins. Charles’ daughter Charlesetta Annunciata Hopkins. His brother; Milton Hopkins and his five children, Wanda Hopkins Williams, Deidre Hopkins Smith, Milton Hopkins Jr., Kimberly Hopkins White, and Christopher Hopkins.  His sister, Mary Ann Smart and her two children, Barney Smart Jr, and Tory Smart. His sister in law; Barbara Lange and her husband Charles Lange and their three children Angela Lange, Donna Lange and Eric Lange. His sister in law; Charlotte Allen and her two children, Keith Allen and Dion Allen. His niece; Zel Gradney as well as countless, great nieces and nephews. 

rn

The family of Walter James Hopkins requests that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in his memory to the Edmundite Missions, 1428 Broad Street, Selma, AL 36701 (www.edmunditemissions.org) The Edmundite Missions is an 80 year old Catholic non-profit serving the needs of the poorest of the poor in the Deep South through nutrition, clothing, medicine, job training, emergency assistance, and education. All funds donated in memory of Walter will be used in the Edmundite Missions Scholarship Fund to send children in poverty to college, breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

To view and submit images or to sign the guestbook, visit http://www.mem.com/7386819


Service Information

Visitation: A visitation was held on 2017-05-16 at Darst Funeral Home.


Send Flowers

To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.

Condolences

Please enhance this tribute to Hopkins, Walter J by adding your condolences or memories. Click Here