Leroy Church Hooker was the paymaster aboard the USS ALBATROSS during its brief naval career.
Leroy Church Hooker was born on November 24, 1874 in Defiance, Ohio, but his family moved west to Seattle shortly thereafter. His father was a county tax collector in Seattle. Both of Leroy's parents, George and Elizabeth Smith Hooker, were very active in the GAR, as George had spent three and-a-half years in the Civil War, seeing a lot of action.
As a young man, Leroy was employed as a bookkeeper for a variety of small firms, but it appears that his family history and the lure of adventure might have prompted him to join the Navy to serve in the Spanish-American War. He served aboard the USS ALBATROSS as its paymaster during its brief naval career during the war. It was while he was based in San Diego with the navy that he met, in a church youth group, his future wife, Florence Schultz, a musician whose father was a Methodist Episcopal minister and the founder of the first church in Hollywood, California, established in 1875.
Following their marriage in Berkeley, California, the newlyweds lived for a time in Seattle, but the lure of Southern California must have been too great, for they moved back to Hollywood, where they were instrumental in founding, in their home, the first Baptist church in the Hollywood area. They remained members of that church throughout their lives; Florence was the church's music director and Leroy a deacon. Leroy established a firm in Los Angeles that sold and repaired small electrics of all kinds, and Leroy and Florence invested in Los Angeles real estate. During WWII, Leroy and Florence moved to Palm Springs, where they owned a home, so that Leroy could do war work at a nearby military base.
Leroy died on November 22, 1963 at the Veterans Hospital in Los Angeles.