Friends say it's hard to describe Hooten in just a few words. He's known nationally as a rowing champion and coached Olympic athletes, including his wife Sue.
Hooten was in a single rowing shell with a friend in Lake Natoma when he fell in Monday morning. Rescue crews found his body the next day.
"He was always steering and guiding and he was always in the bow seat in the boat," said Christine Flowers, a close friend. "It's always the person who is always looking over to see what's going on."
Rowing is only a fraction of what Hooten accomplished in his lifetime.
"John was heavily involved in the community here locally," Flowers said. "He was a troop leader and he was also a swim coach and he always volunteered and gave back to the community. He taught kids how to ride the unicycle. If you saw unicycle troops in any of the local parades it was John and his kids."
On top of Hooten's accomplishments he was also an author and puzzle maker. He made hundreds of nail puzzles to give to friends and family around the holidays.
"Every year John makes a new nail puzzle and he hands them out during the entire month of December and if he didn't quite get you in December you would get it in January," said Dede Burch, close friend. "You're half a puzzle maker if you can take it apart. You're a true one if you can put it back together."
His family and swim team remembered him Wednesday at a candlelight vigil.
"He is incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about everything he does," Burch said. "He loves to work with youth, but he doesn't just bring him to the table he brings the entire family."