Executive Director of The Leary Firefighters Foundation Dies

March 25, 2009
Lysbeth Hopper, Executive Director of The Leary Firefighters Foundation, passed away in New York City. She was 45 years old.

Lysbeth Hopper, Executive Director of The Leary Firefighters Foundation, passed away in New York City. She was 45 years old.

Born in New Rochelle, New York, she was the youngest of four children. Lys was raised in Mamaroneck, NY and later moved to Wellfleet, MA. She graduated from Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, VT.

After moving to New York City in 1981 she became Stage Manager for numerous theatrical productions, including the National Shakespeare Company, New York Theater Workshop, Theater for New York City and the New York Theater Ensemble. In 1992 Lys became a DGA member and embarked on a extensive career in film and television production, working on such projects as The West Wing, Dark Harbor, It Runs in the Family, The Job, Big Apple, Someone Like You, Before Night Falls, Now and Again, Town & Country and Rounders.

While on the television series The Job, Lys met actor Denis Leary, who immediately recognized her extraordinary talent and dedication. Following his creation of The Leary Firefighters Foundation in 2000, he appointed Lys to the position of Executive Director in 2001.

Under Lys' leadership, The Foundation has created partnerships and raised more than $10 million dollars for initiatives critical to firefighter and public safety including: 15 search & rescue boats to the New Orleans Fire Department and the restoration of 11 New Orleans firehouses devastated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; the Worcester Burn Tower, Training Facility & Emergency Operations Center which serves fire departments throughout Central Massachusetts; a Tactical Command Vehicle and high-speed rescue boat for the Boston Fire Department; the FDNY's first-ever state-of-the-art Mobile Command Unit and High-Rise Training Simulator, and Flashover Simulators for both the FDNY and Boston Training Academies.

"Lys was the most devoted and passionate person when it came to the causes she believed in - especially her work in support of the firefighters and their families," said Denis Leary. "Her energy, dedication and love for this charity and all the people that it sought to help were endless and are irreplaceable. We shall miss her immensely, and we will never forget her." She is survived by two brothers, Michael and Raymond. She was preceded in death by her father Raymond F. Hopper in 1971, owner of Whytes Restaurant in New York City, her sister Sharon Hopper in 1976, and her mother Annette Hopper in 1984.

The family has requested that condolences be made to The Leary Firefighters Foundation and anyone wishing to make a donation in her memory may do so online at www.learyfirefighters.org or by calling the Foundation office at 212.343.0240. Preparations for a memorial service are pending and will be announced on The Foundation's website when they have been formalized.

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