Granville, New York – Colleen R. Hooper, age 82, passed away on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at Glens Falls Hospital following a long illness.
Colleen was born on Oct. 10, 1938, in Wells, Vermont, the daughter of William and Emma (Haskins) Ritchie. At birth she weighed a scant two pounds. She was placed on the oven door to keep her warm. Though she may have been small she excelled at everything throughout her life. She started school in a one-room schoolhouse on Ritchie Road at the age of 4.
Colleen was raised by her Uncle Clarence and Aunt Grace Aiken on Aiken Road in Middle Granville. As a child she was active on the family farm and learned to drive a hay truck at a very early age. She graduated from Granville High School in 1954 at the age of 15, where she was a cheerleader. She attended Cortland State Teachers College at 16.
Colleen worked at Andrus Agency in Pawlet, Vermont, for many years until she began her career with the New York State Department of Corrections. She rose rapidly through the ranks at Great Meadow and Washington Correctional Facilities as a steward. She was then promoted to deputy superintendent of Adirondack Correctional Facility. She transferred back to Great Meadow Correctional and became that facility’s first female deputy superintendent of administration.
Colleen retired in 2000 and spent the next 20 years enjoying her second home in Homosassa, Florida, traveling throughout the state enjoying tours, musicals, fairs, beaches and attending many New York Yankees spring training games.
During this time, she and Michael Hitchen enjoyed many cruises with Marcia and Steve Collins on the Carnival line. Together they traveled to Mexico, Belize, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Haiti and passed through the Panama Canal. They also took a 13-day trip to Ireland with their travel companions. Time was spent in Hawaii, Sanibel Island, Florida, and they enjoyed many, many trips to York Beach, Maine, some with the children and grandchildren, as well as their visits to see her in Florida.
Colleen and Mike hosted an annual family Fourth of July party that was eagerly anticipated with great food and pool time. Colleen especially enjoyed having all of the grandchildren over for swimming and playing games together.
She loved shopping and auctions. She had an extensive collection of shoes, clothing and costume jewelry. Colleen will be remembered for her great style. She loved reading, knitting, sewing, tending flowers and watching the birds. She loved spending time by the pool and on her porches in Granville and Florida.
She also loved spending time shopping and traveling with her sister-in-law Sandy Ritchie.
When Arietta “Hattie” Baldwin’s husband and brother had passed on, Colleen took her in, loved her and always treated her as family.
Colleen was predeceased by her parents, an infant daughter Holly, a brother Larry Ritchie and her ex-husband Lawrence Hooper.
She is survived by her companion of 40 years, Michael Hitchen, with whom she shared a loving life filled with laughter and joy. Her three daughters Mary King (Charlie) of Granville; Lisa Merritt (David) of Hampstead, New Hampshire; and Lori Wooten (Buck) of Moseley, Virginia, will treasure the love of their amazing mother and the example she was to them of strength and determination.
She also is survived by Mike’s daughters Tracey Boyd (Don) of Cambridge and Jill Jones (Jim) of Boxford, Massachusetts, whom she grew to love as her own. She was blessed with eight grandchildren: Robert King (Kaitlin) of Granville, Paige and Luke Wooten of Virginia, Alexandra and Ethan Merritt of New Hampshire, Owen and Amelia Boyd of Massachusetts and Jaime Jones of Massachusetts. She was looking forward to meeting her first great-grandchild who will be born in May.
Siblings left to fondly remember her are her brother William “Bud” Ritchie (Sandy) and sisters Carla Miller of Albany and Michelle Shaw and Bonnie Pratt (Doran) of Granville. Colleen also leaves behind many nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Honoring her choice there will be no visitation or funeral. She will be laid to rest in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery at a later date. Online condolences may be made at www.robertmkingfuneralhome.com.