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John Shoop was last seen near channel marker R2 at the entrance to Craddock Creek.
John Shoop disappeared last Friday while on a small sail boat. Officials are investigating what could be a likely drowning but health complications could have contributed to the incident.
John Shoop and wife Thea, with Caren and Daniel Shoop, were photographed at Daniel and Caren's rehearsal dinner the night before their wedding in September 2005. Courtesy of Daniel Shoop
John and his son Daniel Shoop on Sept. 17, 2005.
Friday, August 9, 2013
A man who is believed to have drowned Aug. 2 while sailing a Sunfish was remembered by his family as someone who was in good physical shape and at ease on the water.
“He was so fit. He worked out at the YMCA all the time and was so active in the community,” said Daniel Shoop of Richmond, son of the victim, John Shoop, 74, of Chester.
John Shoop was a strong swimmer who, though he grew up in Pittsburgh, spent summers at his grandparents’ summer home on Chautauqua Lake, N.Y.
“He was just so comfortable on the water,” Daniel Shoop said. He said he believes his father suffered a massive heart attack while on the sailboat.
John Shoop had a history of health problems, He had a heart attack in 1997 and had undergone back and neck surgeries.
About two months ago, he had a heart stent inserted. His doctor had cleared him to resume all normal activities, his son said.
“He was incredibly healthy otherwise ,” said Daniel Shoop.
John Shoop was last seen near channel marker R2 at the entrance to Craddock Creek. His cricket hat was found floating next to the sailboat; he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
Water as deep as 180 feet hampered visibility , making the search for John Shoop difficult, according to conservation police. As of Wednesday, his body had not been found.
John Shoop and his wife, Thea, arrived at the lake on July 30 to vacation with friends, according to family members.
On Aug. 2, he woke up from a nap, and about 5:30 p.m., went out about 200 yards on the lake in the small sailboat while a few friends gathered on the dock down the hill from the rented home.
One of the friends looked out on the lake through binoculars a few minutes later and saw the sailboat but didn’t see Shoop. Friends jumped onto a pontoon boat to search for him, but it was too late, according to Daniel Shoop.
He and John Shoop’s sister Jan Jarrard of Lexington drove to the lake that night to help with the search.
Daniel Shoop said the family has been sharing stories all week and will remember how his father lived.
“I want to make sure people know what kind of man he was,” he said. “My dad was just one of those bigger-than-life people.”
John Shoop was a retired military analyst and worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense.
He worked 16 years at Fort Lee before retiring in December 1999. Recently, he worked part time at a title company.
John Shoop was a regular volunteer in the community, and he and his wife were actively involved at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chester.
Thea Shoop said that everyone —from her family in Australia, to friends and local authorities — ha s been kind and caring. She said the family has been lucky to have so much support.
Luck also might have contributed to the couple’s meeting. Thea Shoop recalled meeting John at a Switzerland hotel while traveling separately. They were both asking about train schedules in the lobby.
Daniel Shoop, who said he loves telling the story, said his father told her, “Maybe I’ll see you at the train station tomorrow morning.” He did, and they ended up spending the rest of the week together. Eight months later, they married in Melbourne, Australia.
John Shoop was known as an often-quiet man who enjoyed healthy debate. He frequently wrote letters to the editor, which were published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He was a voracious reader, especially of historical biographies, but “his passion was his yard and gardening,” Daniel Shoop said.
“God forbid they don’t find him. I could not think of a better final resting place for my father,” he said.
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