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Coronavirus Victims: Real Estate Agent Barbara Hopper


In California, almost 2,000 people have died from COVID-19. One of them was Barbara Hopper. She was a successful real estate agent, still on the job at 81.

ADRIANE HOPPER WILLIAMS: This is a woman that a week before going into the hospital was still - was about to sell another house. She was - just had so much more life in her.


That is her daughter, Adriane Hopper Williams. The story of Barbara Hopper's success, her daughter says, starts in Alabama. Hopper moved there in 1971.

SHAPIRO: Her husband had been appointed director of the Tuskegee Institute's teaching hospital, and part of his job was recruiting doctors to join the staff. Barbara was his partner in that effort.

HOPPER WILLIAMS: She would always have kind of a party and introduce him to other professionals in the town and other people at the university and then would drive them around to homes to say, hey, and you could live in this area. And after a while, she was like, you know, I can do this. And so she went and got her license as a real estate agent.

KELLY: So Hopper started New Horizons Realty in Tuskegee. Her daughter calls Hopper a trailblazer, a black woman starting her own real estate company in the early '70s.

SHAPIRO: Hopper embraced the community. She founded a private alternative school and invested in a local radio station.

HOPPER WILLIAMS: You know, she was one of those people that said, OK, is it - if it's not here, let's create it.

SHAPIRO: When the Hoppers moved to the East Bay, she built another thriving real estate business.

KELLY: Hopper got sick last month, her daughter says, and the disease moved fast.

HOPPER WILLIAMS: I miss her smile, her ability to tell an amazing story and to take you right there in it where you can smell the smells that she's describing and hear the noises. I miss her belief in the best in people. She really nurtured and loved on us through her cooking. We felt the love in every dish.

KELLY: Barbara Hopper - she was 81. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.