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UK News

Man who devoted life to promoting the works of C.S. Lewis dies after contracting Covid-19

C.S. Lewis' former secretary Walter Hooper has died at the age of 89.

Hooper will be best remembered for spending his life, from Lewis's death in November of 1963 to his own death earlier this week, promoting and preserving the works of the Christian author.

An obituary published by The Wade Center at Wheaton College, a leading centre of Lewis studies, said: "there is not a single reader of C.S. Lewis' writings who is not deeply indebted to Walter Hooper."

Lewis was convinced that his works would vanish into obscurity shortly after his death, according to the National Review. Hooper was instrumental in ensuring that did not happen and edited more than 30 collections of Lewis's writing and annotated volumes of his letters. He also co-wrote the first authorised biography about Lewis who counted The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, and The Abolition of Man among his literary works.

Walter Hooper was born in 1931 in North Carolina, going on to study English and education at the University of North Carolina.

He first heard of Lewis at a campus ministry when serving in the army near the end of the Korean War. Hooper was said to have taken Lewis' Miracles with him, keeping it inside his shirt so he could read it during cigarette breaks.

He met Lewis ten years later in Oxford while working as an academic. They took tea together and then drank beer at a local pub.

The pair struck up a friendship and Hooper extended his stay in the UK to help Lewis answer his mail and agreed to return following a teaching appointment in the U.S. Lewis referred to him as "my new secretary".

Following Lewis' death on 22nd November 1963, Hooper returned to England to help with the literary estate.

Hooper became a Catholic in 1988 and in 1997, he finished his 940-page volume, C. S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide.

At a recent conference in Slovakia, Hooper was asked why he had spent so much of his life investing in someone else's legacy. 

He said: "It's been wonderful. I wish to God I could do it all again."

Walter Hooper died on 7th December in Oxford. He had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

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