Karl Hooper was born at his parents’ home in Kennebunkport. His father had been a caretaker for writer Booth Tarkington from 1938 to 1952. Karl himself began working at Marier’s Men’s Shop on Main Street in Kennebunk—first started by Robert Marier in 1929—when he was just a sophomore in high school. He graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1957 and spent two years at the University of Southern Maine, continuing to work at Marier’s until being called up to active duty in Korea. Hooper returned to the Kennebunks after a two-year tour and ultimately purchased the store in 1967.
Hooper joined the Kennebunkport Fire Department at age 19 and volunteered for eight years. He continued volunteering with the Kennebunk Fire Department for another 25 years. He is a Mason who in 1968 was Master of the Arundel Lodge in Kennebunkport. Hooper has also been an active Shriner since 1965, serving as president of the York County Shrine Club in 1983 and as chairman of the Shrine Circus in 1994.
For this exhibition, Karl Hooper loaned a youth basketball jersey from the team Marier’s sponsored in 1935, a circa 1943 photo depicting Kennebunk High School band members wearing uniforms furnished by Marier’s, and a contemporary tape measure that Hooper uses to size up customers for tailoring. The jersey and the photo can now be found back on the walls at Marier’s.