Derry man remembered for love of family, time in service
On the night James Hook and his soon-to-be wife, Sarah, started dating, they didn’t know it would lead to 80 years of him walking her home.
“He asked if he could walk her home, and he asked if he could take her hand, and he’s been walking her home ever since,” said daughter Betty Roble.
Together the couple raised six children and helped raise 15 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. But Sarah Hook was pregnant with their second child when her husband was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, which took him to England and France.
After that, he spent plenty of time with his family, putting his religion, his wife and his kids first.
Mr. James O. Hook, 99, of Derry, died Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at his home.
Born in Columbia, Pa., on Aug. 15, 1919, he was the son of John J. Hook and Helen Oliver Hook.
A graduate of Harrisburg Catholic High School, which later became Bishop McDevitt High School, in 1937, Mr. Hook spent much of his time in church, working as an altar server at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Harrisburg. He eventually became a member of St. Joseph Church in Derry in 1946.
That faith carried over to his grandchildren. A quiet man, Mr. Hook often would leave the room where his family was to go upstairs and pray.
“He prayed a lot — prayed and prayed and prayed,” Roble said. “He would go upstairs and pray for an hour for that grandchild.”
Spending his free time watching his favorite TV shows, playing cards and drawing cartoons, Mr. Hook rarely talked about his time in the service.
He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star.
“He was a complex character,” Roble said. “He had many, many interests and he was very quiet, but yet, at the right times, he had quite a sense of humor.”
And above all, he was a huge Pittsburgh and Derry Trojans sports fan.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Hook is survived by his wife Sarah “Sally” Garrity Hook, his children, James, Robert and Ken Hook and Nancy Moore.
Friends and family were received Thursday and Friday at the McCabe Funeral Home, 300 West Third, Ave., Derry. Interment followed in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Donations can be made in Mr. Hook’s memory to St. Joseph’s Church, Caldwell Library or St. Jude National Shrine.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .