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Longtime Madison County judge dies

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A longtime Madison County judge died suddenly Wednesday. Judge David W. Hopper, 60, had served as a jurist for a total of 28 years. He spent 22 years as judge of Madison County Courts Division 1 and Superior Court 4. Perhaps his legacy in Madison County will be most felt through his work in the Madison County Drug Court Program.

Madison Superior Judge Dennis Carroll, who had known Judge Hopper since they both took the bench in 1981, said there are a number of legacies in the county as a result of Judge Hopper but the one he was most proud of was drug court.

"His temperament, his style, his empathy, his personality was so well-suited for a problem-solving court like drug court," Judge Carroll said. "He was really able to shine in that environment."

Many graduates of the drug court literally owe their lives to Judge Hopper and many people in Madison County think of him as the drug court judge.

Judge Hopper was first elected in 1980 in Madison County; when he lost an election and was out of office for six years, he worked as Hamilton County Circuit Court Master Commissioner until he was re-elected to the bench in Madison County.

Originally a teacher, Judge Hopper graduated from Indiana University School of Law in 1978. At one time, he was a regular lecturer at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev., said Judge Carroll. In 2006, he was named the Indiana Correctional Association Judge of the Year. According to his election Web site, Judge Hopper resolved more than 70,000 cases in his time on the bench.

Judge Hopper had just become the chief justice of the county courts this year, which will now revert back to Judge Carroll, who was chief justice last year.

Judge Hopper was also active in his community and church. He was a "gentleman farmer," according to Judge Carroll and would take the week off of the 4-H Fair in Madison County. He also was a leader and deacon at his church.

He is survived by his wife, Durenda Sue Hopper; mother and stepfather, Cathy and Ralph Carlton; sons Hugh David Hopper and Andrew Hopper; four brothers and one sister; three grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. March 1 at Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Service, 229 S. Rangeline Road, Anderson, and one hour prior to the March 2 service at Bethany Christian Church, 1920 N. Rangeline Road, Anderson; services begin at 1 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jail Ministry Chaplaincy Program, Madison County 4-H Association, Fall Creek Christian Church, or Milligan College.

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