Randy Junior Hooper, age 56, of Sylva passed away Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Randy was the only son of the late Radford and Wilma Broom Hooper. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Deborah Bryson Hooper; daughter, Brandy and grandson, Sawyer; and a whole bunch of kind and caring friends whom he considered his family.
Randy was born and grew up in Sylva, graduated from Sylva-Webster High School and was the only student from there who received the American Future Farmer Degree (1981). His love and passion for gardening and farming started as a child when he helped his mother grow and tend a large garden. He was a dedicated member of the Future Farmers of America in high school. After he became an agricultural business owner, he and his wife, Debbie sponsored the “Outstanding Agriscience Student” and “Outstanding Home and Garden Student” awards at Smoky Mountain High School.
He was a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Sylva and if he may not have attended services regularly, he was a good example of a Christian.
Randy was employed at Bryson Farm Supply from 1980 until 1995 when he and his wife purchased the business from her parents. He truly loved going to work everyday and his easy-going personality, friendliness and willingness to share his knowledge helped make it an institution in the community and a gathering place where friendships could be strengthened. Randy may have been the “boss,” but he was also a mentor, teacher, and most of all a friend to all of the employees. His employees became his extended family.
He was a loving, kind, wonderful husband who always put his wife first in everything he did. He was fortunate and blessed to be married to his best friend and soul mate. He was a devoted Dad and an outstanding Papaw with a mission to teach Sawyer all the things that he loved and also how to grow up to be a good person. His greatest pleasure was spending time with his grandson.
Fishing, no matter where, was his favorite hobby, followed by deer hunting with his brother in-law, Kevin and his Alabama friends. Even though he didn't really “love” traveling through Atlanta to hunt in Alabama, he made the sacrifice. Everyone knew he loved gardening and farming…38 years in the business proved that…but he also enjoyed sharing that passion by sharing the heirloom seeds he collected and saved. Randy also took great pleasure in collecting Case knives.
Randy had a talent for telling stories (and “tall tales”) and did so mostly just to get a smile from you. He took delight in taking younger friends and family members on ghost story excursions. He was also a major jokester. Just talk to anyone who has spent time at Bryson Farm Supply. (A book could be written on the shenanigans he was involved in!)
Oh, and he loved bonfires with his friends and dancing to Johnny Cash.
But, his greatest attribute and the one he will be most remembered for is his friendship. He never met a stranger and if you crossed his path, you were his friend. He had a big heart, he was kind, and if he loved you, he told you. All who knew him, loved him and considered him a friend.
Randy will be missed….by his family, his friends and the community.
The funeral will be held 2:00 pm on Sunday, February 25 at the Balsam Center at Southwestern Community College in the lower Main Building, with Revs. Mike Moore and Ernie Jamison officiating. Burial will be in Old Field Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Saturday, February 24 at the Balsam Center at Southwestern Community College in the lower Main Building from 5:00-8:00pm.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Randy J. Hooper Agricultural Scholarship Fund. Make checks payable to Smoky Mountain High School(SMSH)- Randy J. Hooper Scholarship; 100 Smoky Mountain Dr. Sylva, NC 28779.