Rear Adm. Andrew Tiongson, commander First Coast Guard District, passes a folded American flag to a family member during funeral services for Dr. Olivia Hooker in White Plains, New York, Dec. 5, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Strohmaier)

First African-American Woman to Serve in U.S. Coast Guard Laid to Rest

Funeral services were held for the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday, at White Plains Rural Cemetery, White Plains, N.Y.

Dr. Olivia Juliette Hooker was born on Feb. 12, 1915, in Muskogee, Okla. and passed away on Nov. 21, in White Plains, N.Y., at the age of 103.

Dr. Hooker enlisted in the Coast Guard Woman’s Reserve, also known as “Semper Paratus, Always Ready” (SPARs), in February 1945. Upon graduation from basic training, she specialized in the yeoman rating, spending her time stationed at the separation center in Boston. She ultimately rose to the rank of yeoman second class prior to her discharge in June 1946. Dr. Hooker later joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2010, volunteering in Flotilla 06-08 in Yonkers, N.Y.

After completing her military service, Dr. Hooker went on to earn a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Rochester. In the early 1960s, Dr. Hooker began a career as a psychologist and a professor of psychology at New York’s Fordham University. In 2002, she retired at the age of 87 after a distinguished career in education and mental health care.

Throughout her life, Dr. Hooker was an advocate for Americans with developmental and intellectual disabilities, as well as a leader in various civic, community, cultural, and educational organizations, including the NAACP.

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