In the late 1800’s, Walter J. Hooper Sr. came to Harrisburg from Philadelphia and was recognized by the local media for being on the cutting edge of human preservation and bringing the most advanced embalming techniques with him. He started in business with another funeral director who passed early in his career, at this time my grandfather founded Hooper Funeral Service at 604 Forster Street in Harrisburg. Not only was he an entrepreneur but he was also a strong community leader who believed in our youth, among his many accomplishments, Walter became a charter member of the former Foster Street Y.M.C.A. Walter J. Hooper Sr. died at an early age and his daughter Millicent Hooper, at the tender age of twenty three continued the legacy and she changed the name to the Hooper Memorial Home.
Millicent was in business for over sixty years and had accomplished many firsts in her career. She was the youngest to pass the Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors examination, first female president of the United Cerebral Palsy Center of Camp Hill, PA and many others. She also built the second location of the business at 1416 Cumberland Street when the State used the imminent domain law to create State parking in the original location of 604 Forster Street. During her tenure as a businesswoman, she raised two sons. She passed December 5th, 2004.
Her son Lance W. Ulen picked up the baton and carried the legacy of the Hooper family tradition as President and Supervisor until his passing on April 27, 2017. Lance too changed the name of Hooper Memorial Home to the Hooper Memorial Home Inc., which it is today. Lance graduated from the Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, GA and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He was an artist for many years in the city of Philadelphia and he brought his artistic talents to the business with his restorative techniques. He was a member of the Dauphin County Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association.
Angela Marie Ulen is a licensed funeral director, President and A Supervisor of the Hooper Memorial Home Inc., President of the Millicent Hooper Foundation, and Insurance Agent, Mother, and Grandmother. She is all about business! From the moment you meet her, you realize that you are working with a professional who knows her business and understands her community. Angela Marie Ulen represents a proud history of service to “grief-stricken families. . . we strive to lessen the burden of death as much as possible. We have always been proud of our conduct in the details and arrangements of our services.”
Located at 3532 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA, Hooper Memorial Home Inc. provides top-notch comfort care to families experiencing the death of a loved one. The facility is meticulously kept and beautifully decorated. The staff is very attentive and always professional in their dress and conduct.
Walter J. Hooper Sr. founded Hooper Funeral Services in 1912. He was an entrepreneur and a strong community leader. Hooper Funeral Services was located at 604 Foster Street, Harrisburg, which is now recognized as a historic district for African American families and businesses. Walter Hooper Sr. died at an early age, and his daughter Millicent Hooper, twenty-three years old, continued the business and changed the name to Hooper Memorial Home.
Following her father’s footsteps, Millicent Hooper was an outstanding businesswoman, philanthropist, and community leader. She built a new location for the funeral home at 1416 Cumberland Street in Harrisburg, and served this community for 65 years; until her death on December 5, 2004.
Millicent Hooper’s son, Lance W. Ulen, became the President and Supervisor of the business and changed the name to Hooper Memorial Home Inc. It was Lance Ulen that convinced his wife, Angela, to become a Funeral Director.
Angela has a background in Finance. She served as an assistant comptroller for the Senate of Pennsylvania before deciding to take the challenge. This decision wasn’t easy, especially since she was raising three children. She had to give up her day job and travel to Bethlehem, PA three times a week to complete her mortuary studies. Part of Angela’s mortuary studies also included internships in Philadelphia and the Jewish Home in Harrisburg.
Angela convinced her husband, Lance, that the business needed to expand. After much consideration, Hooper Memorial Home Inc. moved to its current location at 3532 Walnut Street. The move was well-received by the community. Unfortunately, Lance Ulen passed away on April 27, 2017. But Hooper Memorial Home Inc.’s rich legacy continues. Angela Marie Ulen credits Millicent Hooper with instilling honesty, integrity, and professionalism in her children and everyone who has worked for the business.
Angela is grooming her son, Jonathan, to one day take over the family business. He also has a financial background and is familiar with the community that the business serves. Angela and Jonathan have adapted the business to meet the devastating challenges of COVID 19.
She often reminds mourners not to forget the family in the weeks and months to come. As heartbreaking as the loss can be, we must collectively stand together and move forward to anew.
The life of a funeral director over the last year has been more than challenging, yet we stay steadfast, meeting the obligation to serve our families. Covid-19 caused us to change the way we do business, communicate, and the way we do funerals. We must continue the push for technological advancements. Who thought a year ago that we would be zooming our meetings, teleconferencing, and streaming funeral services? These technologies continue to allow us to meet the needs of the families we serve in the Harrisburg and surrounding areas.
The legacy of professionalism lives on at Hooper Memorial Home Inc.