Teresa was born on June 17, 1961, in Brentwood, Essex, England, to her proud English father and lovely Irish mother. In the early 80’s she moved to Germany to be a nanny for a military family. She raised the Durham children as she would her own. This is where she met her husband Jude and the courtship began: Paris, the Alps, concerts, young love. Jude returned home to Belleville in 1984, and, as fate would have it, the Durhams were transferred to Scott Air Force Base, IL. Teresa came with them and Jude and Teresa married at the St. Clair County Court House in December 1984, against both mothers’ concerns. They received the sacrament of marriage on August 9, 1986, at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Belleville in front of hundreds of their family and closest friends. Many of those guests who have left this Earth greeted her as she walked through the gates of Heaven.
Jude and Teresa moved from Belleville to O’Fallon in December 1987, and Teresa soon started what she considered her greatest love, Motherhood. Rachel Bridget was born October, 15th, 1988. Teresa swears she was conceived the first day they moved into their new home. And of course, her baby, Jude Joseph the Second, born February 24th, 1991. She loved her babies unconditionally and without end, and they will miss their Mother so very much. She will be loved eternally by her husband, Jude J. Hopper Sr., whom she commonly referred to as “baby” and other names that their friends encouraged her to repeat with her English accent. Father Bill referred to her as Mother Teresa for having to put up with Jude for all these many years. They were the true example of how opposites attract, but through it all, there was always a deep love for each other.
She also leaves behind her family in England whom she saw as often as possible, but not nearly enough. The time in between visits just made their time together so much sweeter. Her family includes her dear mother, Bridget Murphy, and her sister, Annette (David) Keeble, who, at a moment’s notice, without hesitation, flew over immediately and volunteered to be the donor for her stem cell transplant. Right along with her came her other sister, Fiona (Adrian) Rankin. Teresa did everything the two of them asked of her throughout it all. In addition, she is survived by her brothers, Paul and Gerard; her nieces, Sarah and Joanne; nephews, Anthony and James; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins in both England and Ireland.
She also leaves behind Jude’s family, who loved her as their own, including Jude’s mom, Doris, nee Rasp, Hopper, whom she referred to as “Oma” and with whom she had the most special of bonds. Some say this bond was because they were the only two women who had to take care of Jude for 20 plus years. Other members of Jude’s family include her dear sister-in-law, Suzann, and brother- in-law, James; niece, Natalie, and great-niece, Eliana; nephews, Jacob and Joshua; many of Jude’s cousins locally; and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins from Alabama. Even though it sounded like they spoke different languages at first, they loved her as much as she loved them.
Teresa’s biggest quality was her heart of gold. She would want to help anyone she could. She loved everybody and they loved her. A perfect example is when the nurses would put the needle in her and she would say “ouch” and then apologize to them. I guess if you could only use two words to describe her, my baby was a “kind soul.” Teresa was diagnosed with A.L.L. Tcell leukemia on April 2, 2015 (Good Friday). Since then, with complications that arose, she had only been home maybe a total of three weeks since her diagnosis.
A lot of people said she was one of the strongest women they had ever met. Through rounds of chemo, full body radiation, transplant, rejection, etc., few people ever heard her complain about anything.
For those of you who don’t know, Jude kept a lot of people updated through regular Facebook posts. As was expressed there so many times, the family can’t put into words their heartfelt thanks to the many friends, old and new, family, co-workers, caregivers, and church community for all the cards, gifts, donations, kind words, and fund-raisers, especially the beautiful celebration where hundreds of people shared their love. She was so overwhelmed and always talked about how unbelievable it was. Most of all, we can’t thank you enough for the prayers and the love that was shown to our baby. All along, we were praying to God for a miracle to heal Teresa’s body. What we didn’t realize is that God had given us a miracle all along. The miracle was her. He had put our baby into our lives, and through her kind soul and courageous battle, she brought God’s love to many, including friends, family, and even those who had never met her. It’s not “goodbye”, it’s “see you later”. We are all better for knowing the English-Irish beauty.
Memorials in Teresa’s honor may be made to Teresa Hopper/Mother Teresa Scholarship Fund and can be sent to Bank of O’Fallon, P.O. Box 1626, 901 South Lincoln, O’Fallon, IL 62269, or brought to the church. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, November 27, 2015, and from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, November 28, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 625 St. Nicholas Drive, O’Fallon, IL.
Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 28, 2015, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, O’Fallon, IL, with Msgr. William Hitpas officiating. Burial will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Shiloh, IL. After burial, lunch and a celebration of Teresa’s life will be held at St. Nicholas Activity Center.
I’m glad to have been part of the fairy tale. Thank you Jude for bringing her into our lives. She touched us all and will never be forgotten. Jude, Rachel,Jude, and Teresa’s dear family, my prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Love always, Suzann
suzann hopper, SAINT LOUIS, MO, 63109
Her life was beautiful as was she. Our only wish is that we had gotten the chance to get to know such a beautiful person. Sending our love and condolences from our family to yours.
Christina Taylor, Belleville, IL, 62221
Teresa was our co-worker, but more importantly our friend. We looked forward to seeing her smiling face every day. We will miss her and will always think of her as a kind and wonderful person. Our deepest sympathy.
Debbie and Kevin Hazlett and family, OFallon, IL, 62269
It is amazing to hear the love you had for her, Uncle Jude. I’m sure this was the hardest document you’ve ever had to write, but you did an awesome job! You’re right, it’s not “Goodbye;” it’s “See You Later.” Aunt Teresa was one of those souls that was meant to change as many lives as possible, and I think she fulfilled her God-given mission well! I love you all!
Joshua Hopper, Peoria, Illinois , 61607
My thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Kathy French, Belleville, IL, 62221
So sorry for your loss. I loved Teresa smile and warm personality.
Marilyn Schorfheide, O’Fallon, IL, 62269
Jude and family-
I am sorry for your loss. I was of of the nurses who took care of Miss Teresa on 4900. She will always hold a special place in my heart and will be missed greatly. I pray for your peace during this time. Stay strong!