Police Chief George Hooper was 39 when he was fatally shot while on duty in 1918.

Police Chief Don Melton and Bill Joslen, of Quality Memorials, unveil the new memorial giving proper recognition to former Police Chief George Hooper for his service to Webb City. 

Chief George Hooper remembered for losing his life while bringing law and order to this town

Bob Foos

106 years after his death, Webb City paid homage on Monday to former Police Chief George D. Hooper by placing a monument next to his simple grave marker telling that he died in the line of duty.

Current Police Chief Don Melton presided at the solemn ceremony in Mt. Hope Cemetery as he paid tribute to Hooper, “a lawman dedicated to bringing law and order to this town.”

Hooper is the second Webb City peace officer to be remembered for heroism that ended with his ultimate sacrifice. In August of 2022, Melton led an effort to add a stone to the gravesite of Marshal Leonard Rich in the Webb City Cemetery, acknowledging that he had been fatally shot in 1902 while trying to maintain law and order as the growing town was at times an unruly mining camp.

The city had matured by 1918 but still required dedicated lawmen such as Hooper. He was in the West End on the night of March 17, 1918, when he was fatally shot while coming to the aid of a woman being chased by an assailant.

Melton had not been aware of Hooper’s sacrifice until reading an account of it in Jeanne Newby’s column in August 2023.

The article, shared by Fritz Rogers, a relative of Hooper’s assistant, who survived the 1918 gunfight, referred to Hooper as a marshal.

However, Melton determined through research help from Sheriff Randee Kaiser that Hooper was serving as the police chief.

Members of the Webb City Area Genealogical Society are this week sharing newspaper accounts of Hooper’s death and how it affected the townspeople.

Creation of the monument was made possible by Webb City Elks Lodge No. 861, represented by Exalted Ruler Cheri Bedgley. Bill Joslen, owner of Quality Memorials Inc., was also recognized. Travis Boyd, superintendent of Mt. Hope Cemetery, and his staff located the gravesite and installed the new monument

George D. Hooper – Killed in the line of duty – End of Watch March 17, 1918

George Hooper was a family man that served the city of Webb City as a peace officer and chief of police. We need to remember the heroes who gave so much to build the place that we call home.

Newspaper story about Chief George Hooper’s funeral.

Chief Hooper’s death certificate.

Cheri Badgley, exalted ruler of the Webb City Elks Lodge, says that after the ceremony Monday she found that George Hooper was actually a member of the lodge at the time of his death. This is his membership application, which is dated a year before his death.