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‘Joe was the smile of Rochester’: City mourns man known for tricycle, ‘beautiful soul’

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No one can say exactly why or how Joe Hooper came to live in the city, but after arriving as a 30-something adult he managed to capture the hearts of most every Lilac City resident who met him.

Hooper died on July 28 at age 75, and now there’s a movement in Rochester to get the newly planned roundabout in the city center named for him, and to have his tricycle bronzed and placed there as a memorial.

“I used to ride home in that basket when I was a kid,” said Irene Lancaster, his sister since the Brochu family took him into their home when she was 7. “He would pick me up at Maple Street School and ride me to George & Ed’s for penny candy and then ride me home.”

Hooper recently suffered a massive stroke, numerous minor strokes and a brain aneurysm, putting him in the hospital. Loved ones say he spent the last week of his life telling those around him how much he loved them, joking with the nurses, and smiling as big as ever.

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