Hooper joined STV’s oldest predecessor firm, Seelye Stevenson Value & Knecht, in 1946 when he was hired by its founder, Elwyn E. Seelye.
Hooper worked on some of STV’s most prestigious projects, many of which are landmarks: NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building, built originally for the Apollo Program that sent U.S. astronauts to the moon, and the Orbiter Processing Facility, used to inspect and prepare the Space Shuttle prior to and following each mission; Enrico Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchrotron Light Source; Macy’s Rego Park Parking Garage; the Atlantic City Convention Center; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Grand Central Subway Station Rehabilitation; MTA Long Island Rail Road’s John D. Caemmerer West Side Storage Yard and Maintenance Facility; and many other groundbreaking assignments.
Active in the industry, Hooper was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Concrete Institute, American Institute of Steel Construction, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and the Society of American Military Engineers, among others. Widely published in professional journals, Hooper lectured on an array of topics that included multi-story frames, plastic design, columns with bending, concrete specifications, fire protection, composite construction, aesthetics, and rapid design methods for steel and concrete.
In 1985, Hooper received the Special Citation Award from the American Institute of Steel Construction. Three years later, the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers named him Engineer of the Year.
Hooper officially retired from STV in 2005, but continued to be a presence in the office to mentor staff and consult on special projects. “During the course of his remarkable 56-year career at STV, Ira became one of the country’s most widely respected structural engineers, inspiring his peers and a generation of young professionals who followed in his footsteps,” said STV Executive Chairman Dominick M. Servedio, P.E., Hooper’s colleague for many years. “He was one of the leading structural engineers of his time and gained the respect and admiration of everyone throughout the industry, which is a remarkable achievement. He inspired people to become structural engineers. Young engineers came to the firm specifically because they wanted to work with him and learn from him.”
Ira Hooper is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sally Lebofsky Hooper.