My stepfather, Ken Hooper, who has died aged 92, was an engineer who left school early and worked his way up through evening classes to have a successful career with British Telecom.
Ken was born in Mitcham, south London, son of Bert Hooper, a taxi driver, and his wife, Nellie (nee Elliot), who worked in a chocolate factory. He left school at 14 and joined the Post Office in 1942 as a telecoms apprentice.
In 1951 Ken married Muriel Overy; they had twin daughters, Elizabeth and Susan.
He worked hard at the Post Office, later British Telecom, for more than 40 years and was a technical manager when he retired in 1984. Muriel died of breast cancer in 1985.
A couple of years later, he met my mother, Josephine Beesley, a widow, through his brother, Bert, on a trip to France to study the art and architecture of cathedrals. They married in 1987 and settled at Josephine’s home in Montacute, Somerset. They continued to enjoy such trips and also travelled widely to China, Russia, Australia, Petra, Egypt and many other places.
Ken was a kind and principled man, modest and self-effacing, and a keen Guardian reader. I was a young mother myself when we met, and his first words to me were: “Your mother has told me about your involvement at Greenham Common. Let me shake your hand.”
His workroom in the family home was an Aladdin’s cave of treasure: wires, electrical components, tools, endless tiny switches and other gems. I salvaged a piece of his which I keep as an artwork because of its intricacy although I have no idea of its purpose.
Ken loved music, from Mozart to Ella Fitzgerald. During the last weeks of his life in a care home, my sister and I sang to him regularly through Whatsapp, usually his favourite, True Love, which Bing Crosby sang to Grace Kelly in High Society.
Ken is survived by Josephine, by Elizabeth and Susan, by my sister, Deborah, and me, and by three grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren and 11 step-great-grandchildren.