Albert Hopkins Jr. dead at 63 Palo Alto Issues, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jul 5, 2007 at 3:33 pm
Albert Hopkins Jr. -- whose name became well-known in Palo Alto after he alleged two police officers beat and pepper sprayed him on June 13, 2003 -- died June 30 at Stanford Medical Center. He had suffered an apparent heart attack while playing basketball at Stanford University. He was 63.
Posted by "Princess of the Middle Kingdom", a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2007 at 7:14 pm
Albert's #1 priority and love in life were his children, he would want them to flourish and discover their happiness. To his children; he is watching over you and he is with you in spirit. He would wish for you to uplift each other and be strong for one another. Listen to the music he played, leaf through the books he kept, water his plants, read his philosophical writings, ...his spirit will shine through and comfort you.
Like the purple flowers he loved...Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - He Loves You and He is With You. Don't forget it. Make him proud....and "dang"! Look at those beautiful sunsets, just as he loved to do. Sing "Send in the Clowns"...just sing (no matter what it is) every day, and you will feel him singing.
I bestow honor upon the gentlest man I have ever met. He gave and gave until he was spent, but he still had his love to give. The trials in his life sculpted him into a wise human being. He rose above them and transformed them into good. He deserves the highest regard. Like the photographs he displayed in his academic center; he thought like Einstein, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and the like. He walks with the great men of the Earth.
Let us remember his gentleness, his striving for simplicity, his dedication and the many ways he showed his love. Please nurture his garden and send him a blessing for his wondrous journey.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - He is Pure Love and He is with Us
Posted by Gunn Mom, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm
My husband, daughter, and I are all saddened to hear of the passing of Albert Hopkins ("Mr. Hopkins" of Gunn's Academic Center). He was a wonderful man who always had a smile for us. He will be missed.
Posted by Katherine, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 6, 2007 at 8:04 pm
I have a lot of little, fond memories of him, just from day-to-day business, as well as from meeting him at Anytown, and chatting. He was a powerfully kind man who made the world brighter just by being in it, and who made the rest of us stronger just by smiling at us. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Patricia, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 6, 2007 at 9:56 pm
I knew Albert for many years as my basketball coach at the Palo Alto YMCA. He was always happy to see me and we became close friends. When I entered Gunn and saw him walking to the Academic center, smiling and always ready to work. He was a great person for the community and I will dearly miss him. I felt like I could do anything when I received his smiles. It'll be hard not seeing him anymore. My prayers and deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
Posted by Shounak, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 6, 2007 at 10:47 pm
He was a friendly person with a great personality. Even at the end of the day, he would still smile even as me and my friends goofed off when we should have been working. He will be missed. I can say with certainty that senior year will not be the same without him.
Posted by Davis, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 6, 2007 at 11:23 pm
Mr. Hopkins was a considerate and kind individual. He had patience and tolerance for nearly everyone who came into the academic center, even when we would clown around. He would even share his food with students in the room. All our best thoughts are with you, Mr. Hopkins.
Posted by Pink Ribbon Club, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 12:43 am
He was an admirable man, and his death is a severe loss to our community. He supported those he knew, and those he did not know by attending the Gunn Pink Ribbon Club's DJ Benefit Night at Studio Kicks, which raised funds towards the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I am proud and honored to say that I knew a hero like him.
Posted by Jordan Marshall, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 1:41 am
he was a great guy and alot of people around school respected him. he was a great person and i can truely say that whenever i went to the ac it was great to be greated by he friendly smile. i can say that i will miss him dearly and i hope he rests in peace.
Posted by Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, Assistant Professor of Bible and Theology, Crichton College, Memphis, T, a resident of another community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 6:58 am
To a wonderful man, a spirited human being, a lover of life, my beloved uncle. I will always remember (and will never forget) the times we spent together: the summer vacation trips my brothers and I spent up north, the ball games we attended at Candlestick park (although I am from L. A., I am yet a S. F. Giants fan), the Thanksgiving holidays we spent in Bakersfield, and the rare but special trips you made down south (to L. A.) for other occasional family events. What an athlete! A Haberdashery model! You are missed. A deep an awful cavity has occurred within the family. This sudden and untimely departure has stricken us with grief, yet we all have hope in knowing that you are in a better place. You have taken up residence in the presence of almighty God. You are once again in fellowship with Albert (Sr.) and Katherine Christine Hopkins (your mom and dad) as well as among God’s heavenly host. You are in worship: the house of prayer, love, peace, joy. In this we take courage as you continue to be a witness (in reflection and rememberance) of the kindness, love and selfless demeanor you possessed and wherein we all strive. “Well done thy good and faithful servant,” I am sure the Lord has intoned. You, my uncle, are worthy of your reward. To Kyle, Ryan and Gabriel (my cousins), bless you. To each of us, MERCY!
Posted by Shari Miller, a resident of another community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 10:18 am
I got the great fortune of meeting Albert at my graduation party from Nursing School at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Albert came to my home with one of my very dear friends to help us celebrate our great accomplishment. He made me feel warm and loved in just a very short time. His smile and sparkly eyes could melt anyones fears and make you smile. I also got to see him one more time when he came over for a going away BBQ for one of our nursing friends. Again, he was warm, tender and just an amazing soul. It didn't take me very long to realize what a marvelous man he was. I feel very lucky to have gotten the chance to meet him and see the magic that he shared with anyone lucky enough to come into contact with him. He is deeply loved and loved deeply. I will miss him, but can find some comfort knowing that he is free and protecting me from above. What a comfort to know that he is watching from above and has added a very shiny star in heaven. My heart goes out to his children and my very very dear friend. I know she will miss him. Thank you Albert for sharing your soul with me. Love Shari, Chad, Spencer and Mason
Posted by Katie Hood, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 11:25 am
I went to Camp Everytown with Albert... i learned the things he's gone through in his life... as he learned mine. When I herd that he had died through an event on Facebook... I froze. I thought to myself "no. it cant be... how can such an amazing person die..?"
My condolences go to his family... He will be greatly missed...
Posted by Jo (Brown) Moore, a resident of another community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 12:12 pm
I went to high school with Albert in Bakersfield, Calif. He could sing like Johnny Mathis with the voice of an angel and a smile as bright as the sun itself. A sweeter kinder person you will not find on this earth. Although we did not stay in touch after high school, I thought of him often and wondered what he was doing. I was hoping he would persue a singing career - but it sounds like he went on to better things. Teaching, coaching and directing students in the right direction in life are far more important then a "career" in the media.
I will miss you, my friend. God speed - teach the angels a thing or three about singing!!
Posted by Daniel Black, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 7, 2007 at 12:16 pm
I also went to Camp Anytown (as it was called back then) with Albert. He was an inspiration to me and many others. He has had a huge impact on my outlook on life to this day. I will miss him a lot. Albert made the AC a great place to work, with his outgoing personality and his sense of humor. Rest in peace, you will never be forgotten.
Posted by Andrew Litt, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm
Albert was one of the few people who I believe was truly there for everyone. He did every single thing he could to help his students succeed, he was motivational, and he provided a great place for people to work. The Academic Center will never be quite the same. He was always willing to talk with anyone, help them through troubles, and was just a great person.
He will be missed greatly by everyone! Best wishes to his family and children.
Posted by Katherine He, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2007 at 2:35 pm
He was always there for you when you needed him. At camp anytown he shamelessly shared his experiences while comforting those who were distressed. He was always optimistic even in the face of great challenges. When I walked into the AC for the first time in a year, he sat me down in one of the swivel chairs behind his desk and asked me about my life and my plans for the future. His impact on those around him are immeasurable. Rest in peace, Albert.
Posted by Paul C, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2007 at 5:40 pm
Despite the small number of years that I knew him, Mr. Hopkins was a memorable man in the way he treated everyone with respect and kindness. He was too respectable a man to not admire, and for this reason I understand his message loud and clear that he only wanted to treat people the same way he wanted to be treated. The man deserves our blessings and nothing short of them. Sadly, I never said to him directly how much his presence at Gunn meant to me. I'm sure he was aware, however, that he made others, including me, around him as happy as he wanted them to be. May he Rest in Peace.
Posted by Allison Shan, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 8, 2007 at 5:59 pm
I still can't believe the news. It felt just like yesterday that Albert encouraged me on the fact that I'm going to UC santa cruz next year. The moment I found out this news through from my dad (from his laptop), I had to read the message a number of times to actually take it in. He was one of the greatest people to exist. He will certainly never be forgotten. This news leaves a hole in my heart, as I'm sure it does to many. Now I'm thinking about how lucky I was to have attended Camp Anytown back then in the beginning of sophomore year. If I didn't meet him, I don't know who I would have gotten such inspiration from. His inspiration has touched the lives of many and although he is gone now, his inspiration lives on and thus, many more lives will be touched. He was such a wonderful person and friend to the entire gunn community and this news can only touch us even more. From being in charge of the AC to Camp Anytown, to his everyday smiles, hand waves, encouragment, and fun chit-chat conversations, gunn will certainly not be like before. He added such an element to the gunn community and the fact that his spirit will live on will keep the element from going away. Rest in peace, Albert
Posted by Tom Jacoubowsky, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm
Albert will be terribly missed by the Gunn community. His reach went far and wide and he made such a difference in the lives of so many at Gunn and elsewhere. On a personal note, he was a friend and a mentor and I will always cherish the many conversations we had. Gunn High School will always remember Albert Hopkins.
Posted by D. Sanderson, a resident of another community, on Jul 9, 2007 at 7:25 pm
Albert was a kind and generous person. He revitalized the BSU and was there for all students. Albert made me feel safe on a campus which is covertly racist like most of America. He helped me to heal the wounds which had been inflicted by previous incidents at Gunn such as 'white power' being written on my classroom door. Albert was shocked by the lack of detailed attention paid by PAPD and PAUSD to the over 3000 racial hate email messages sent to me over the past 3 years. We had different styles of dealing with institutionalized racism.
Albert's voice for change and moderation will be dearly missed by the entire Gunn and Palo Alto communities.
Posted by Faith Hilal, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2007 at 8:40 pm
Albert was one of the first people I met when I came to Gunn three years ago, and his kind and generous spirit helped make a shy student teacher feel welcome. It has been my privledge to get to know him better over the past three years by working with him as a collegue and parent of my students at Gunn, as well as sharing a discussion group at Camp Everytown. He was my friend, my cheerleader, and my mentor, and I will miss him greatly. I can hear his voice in my head greeting me with his habitual, "Well, princess..." I will miss our chats, our collaboration, our singing, and his day-brightening smile. My prayers are with his family and especially his children.
Well Albert... princess misses you! As you would always say, "You's good people!" May God bless you in your eternal rest with equal measure to the blessings that your life has bestowed upon so many. I will always think of you singing with a chorus of angels.
Posted by Beatrice Strnad, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 9, 2007 at 11:56 pm
Albert was a very genuine, kind hearted man. He would do anything for anybody without expecting anything in return. He always said hello to students with a big smiling, friendly face.
I will never forget when he asked me to be on his basketball team even though I was not in any way an exceptional player. He always believed in me and encouraged me, no matter how many times I traveled or missed an easy shot in a game. He always let our team know how proud he was of our play, rather than bringing up how he felt about winning or losing.
He never liked to see anyone back down from anything. He helped students find academic help, and he let us destress in his air conditioned room even if we did not use our time for academic purposes.
I will miss his friendly welcomes.
All that knew him will remember his warm presence and easy smile.
Posted by Josh Bloom, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 10, 2007 at 11:41 am
Albert was a man of stature in every positive way. And yet his humility and warmth is what I will remember most. Albert carried with him the weight of many hard experiences in life, and yet he always made an effort to turn those experiences into something positive and uplifting for others. He did not burden others with his pain but instead used the humility it brought him to be able to kneel to everyone's level and look them in the eye with his great smile and kind a gentle voice and give of his heart. Albert had a unique gate, one that I felt projected the accumulation of these experiences. It was a slightly hobbled yet powerful and determined stride. Albert had the amazing ability to both lower his head in humility and hold it high in spirit at the same time. I deeply respected the man. I will always remember what it felt like to shake his powerfully gentle hand, an of course his voice and smile. You will clearly be deeply missed, Albert. God speed, my friend.
Posted by gunn grad, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 11, 2007 at 5:20 am
Albert was one of the most wonderful and caring human beings I've ever been lucky enough to know. He was always cheerful and positive, and he always had something nice to say. My prayers go out to the family... especially the kids... i know this is a devastating tragedy, you have the support of your friends, classmates, and co workers. Rest in Peace Albert... you will be greatly missed and always remembered.
Posted by Nanci Thomander, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 12, 2007 at 6:42 am
Albert and I were schoolmates together at Emerson Jr. High and Bakersfield High School. In those days BHS was a large school--3rd in the nation, and Albert was a standout. He excelled in varsity basketball and baseball, sang solos in Acapella Choir and Madrigals, and was a leader in student government. Albert was everybody's friend, and everybody was Albert's friend. He always stood for what was good and right, fair and decent. I will sorely miss bumping into Albert around town, his hugs and smiles, our reminisces. I'm grateful for the contributions he made to Gunn, to our family, and to our community. I hope his family will take comfort in knowing that Albert made a difference: he brightened our lives and made the world a better place.
Posted by Charlotte, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Jul 13, 2007 at 1:19 pm
Albert has inspired everyone he has talked to, bringing light and happiness into peoples lives. On the outside he was a strong man, with character. On the inside he was a caring, sensitive,truthful, and honest man. ALbert you helped many through their problems and fears, you have definitly inspired me to become a better person. Thankyou for everything.
YOu will be missed and will always be here in our hearts.
Posted by GHS student, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Jul 15, 2007 at 7:14 pm
Why does this article have to mention the fact that he alleged two policemen for brutality and received 250,000 dollars in return? Does that fact even really matter? Whoever wrote this article is a dipshit.
Posted by Susan Arthur, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm
I was shocked today to hear that Albert had died. Impossible -- such a warm, vibrant man. How can it be that he is no longer here with us?
I first met Albert when he was my son's YMCA basketball coach. My son was lucky enough to have him as coach for several years, and I continued to run into him over the years at JLS and at Gunn. Albert had the most wonderful ability to work with kids and young adults, because he treated them with respect and kindness -- as he treated everyone. He had a real interest in all the kids he worked with, and he knew how to bring out the best in them. He will be sorely missed.
Posted by David Taylor, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Jul 29, 2007 at 11:02 pm
Albert Hopkins Jr. -- who became well-known in Palo Alto after he alleged two police officers beat and pepper sprayed him on June 13, 2003
Even after his death, Mr. Hopkins continues to be smeared by a press that completely misrepresents the facts:
- He was attacked by police on July 13 2003 - not June 13.
- It was not "alleged" that "two police officers beat and pepper sprayed him": it was a fact stated in the police reports of the two police rookies (Michael Kan and Craig Lee) and in their court testimony. That fact was not disputed by anyone - not even their attorneys. The dispute was whether the attack was justified or not.
- It was not Mr. Hopkins that initiated the allegation that the attack was not justified. That allegation came out of the investigation of the senior police officers who arrived on the scene and found that Kan and Lee could not cite any crime committed by Mr. Hopkins. That investigation led to the arrest of Kan and Lee. The District Attorney's office agreed with the allegation and prosecuted. Judge Northway agreed that the allegation was substantial enough to go to trial, and also denied defense requests to downgrade the felony assault charges against Kan and Lee to misdemeanors.
Despite these facts, the press continues to falsely suggest that the case came down to just an angry loudmouth screaming "police brutality". In the zeal to spin the story, in a way that just happens to agree with the spin put on it by the police chief, the public was denied the truly significant story: that some Palo Alto police went public with the facts in a case of police brutality, rather than cover up or stay silent as we've come to expect of the Blue Wall. Their reward for their courage? The police chief sided with the rookies and criticized the senior officers. From the perspective of that story, Mr. Hopkins' role was minimal - painful, but minimal.
Yet the tributes in these posts show that four years of unrelenting smear have failed to diminish the reputation of Mr. Hopkins. Those who were touched by him felt a truth that cannot be erased. Perhaps true justice is not to be found in the courts or in the press - but in the hearts of those with whom we share ourselves.
Posted by Princess of the Middle Kingdom, a resident of another community, on Jul 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm
Yes, David, your last sentence sums it up perfectly. The incident with the police rookies was merely a small "blip" in Albert's life. When the attack by the police rookies occurred, he was already weary from personal challenges. Yet he fought the injustice thrown upon him for the sake of others. He didn't want to see discrimination or racial profiling perpetuated. He knew he had the tools and support with which to fight that long battle and would not have been able to live with himself had he not put forth the effort. That effort was one of his many good deeds, which contributed to making the world a better place.
When Albert rescued the mom and baby from the oncoming train, when he encouraged an adolescent to pursue his dreamed-of career, when he consoled a saddened person, when he gave an enlightening lecture, when he blessed us with his beaming smile...he made the world a better place to live and touched the lives of others. As you said, David, true justice is found 'in the hearts of those with whom we share ourselves'. Albert shared himself with us, he is in our hearts. If we emulate his courage, generosity and kindness, we too can make the world a better place.
Posted by Shari Miller, a resident of another community, on Aug 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm
I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BEAUTIFUL ALBERT one day early. Tomorrow August 2nd would have been Alberts birthday. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to wish him a great birthday. I know he is smiling from above. I am truly touched by all the beautiful writings by all the people who knew and loved Albert, what an awesome man. Love Shari, I love in Los Osos CA
Posted by Paula Sterling, a resident of another community, on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:04 pm
I would like to suggest that a commemorative garden or a tree be planted at Gunn High School in honor of Albert. I for one will volunteer to help plant this garden or tree. There are many special plants that Albert was fond of that I know of that could grace the campus and be a living tribute to someone who made a positive difference in the lives of many. Noreen, faculty, students, family and friends of Albert... anyone for helping making this happen?
Posted by Gene Starks, a resident of Los Altos, on Sep 9, 2007 at 2:17 pm
Albert was my counsler at De Anza J/C he was a very nice person always greeting you with that famous smile of his. I was abroad for about four years in Europe, i worked for safeway in Palo Alto, he came into the store one day and again with that great smile he greeted me. We chatted for a bit about the good old days at De Anza, and everytime after that when he did come in to shop we always chatted a bit. He was such a warm person and he will surely be missed i found out from one of the students just last week of his passing. I just wanted to add my comments for just a really good guy that will be missed. My prayers go out to his family and friends.
Posted by Mary Pace, a resident of Mountain View, on Apr 15, 2008 at 3:09 pm
I didn't even hear until this last week that Albert had passed away. Though I know how devastating this is for his family, I have to say that I don't think Albert could have chosen a better way to go. When I read that he was playing basketball at the time, it actually brought me peace. He was doing one of the things he loved most and in the act of living his life to it's fullest and in the moment. The warm comments that have been written about Albert are the greatest tribute to a fine and decent man, who made his imprint on all our worlds. In the words of Thomas Campbell, "To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die." Rest in peace my dear friend.
Posted by Shari, a resident of another community, on May 1, 2008 at 9:45 am
Hi Albert I just wanted to stop by because my beautiful son Spencer has passed away, he came to be with you on March 22nd. I know you are together experiencing all the things he never got to do. Please comfort him and protect him. I miss my little boy so much but knowing he is with such a marvelous man makes me feel a little bit better. Thanks Albert xo Shari
p.s. Spencer loved to have his ear loabs rubbed :)
Posted by kelly, a resident of another community, on Nov 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm
Yes, Shari. He is with Spencer and they are both keeping us wrapped up in the warmth of their continuous love. I think they are proud of yesterday's spiritual evolvement. Doesn't our future president look a lot like Albert? I am thinking of Albert today and missing him. Time may pass, but the spirits of our beloved ones are never forgotten. Hello to my love Albert. You are etched into my being and I feel your presence often, my dearest Junebug! Love, Kelly
Posted by Shari Miller, a resident of another community, on Nov 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm
Hi Albert, as the holidays are creeping up on me, I am devastated that my angel Spencer won't be with me on earth. I honestly hope that he is with everyone he loves and loves him. I know he is soaring beyond my imagination but I just miss him so much. Please keep him safe and never let him forget just how much I love him and miss him. You both had such sparkly eyes and spirits. I miss you buddy so very much from the depth of my soul. I am so proud of you, you are my heart. Please be with him and don't let him be frightened. I am sure he is in charge but I just want him to be OK ~ He is not mine to protect anymore, please Spencer protect me. I need you and love you more
Posted by Tom, a member of the Ohlone School community, on Nov 7, 2008 at 8:09 pm
Hagiography is legal, but trying to link these fantasies to Sundays march will lead to a Rodney King like riot, some people obviously want that other wise they would not drag this settled issue up, the cops involved were vindicated and are still on the force, they were both minorities, the case was settle out of court because of the OJ precedent
Posted by kelly, a resident of another community, on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm
Somehow this site helps me to connect. I do miss Albert so much. Even though nearly two years have passed, I still feel his prescence and his memory meanders into my daily existence. I pray that the kids are doing well and adjusting OK without their wonderful Dad around. I know he did a good job laying the foundation, but I hope his memory stays strong with you kids and that you try to connect with his legacy and all he believed in and stood for. He simply loved you and did his best. At the time of his death, he was putting you kids at the forefront. I miss your tender spirit, Albert, and can't wait till the day I can see you again in heaven. Until then, flourish my Love. New ties on earth may bind, but your soul is engrained in me forever and I will always leave that door open.