Carlos Lopez

Obituary of Carlos O. Lopez

Carlos O. Lopez, Educator and Community Volunteer Carlos O. Lopez passed away peacefully on July 3rd with family present at the home of his daughter in Gilroy where he lived for the past five years. He was 91. Carlos lived in Aptos, CA for over forty years, leading a life of service to his family, the St. Joseph's Catholic Community of Capitola and many other Santa Cruz County organizations. Carlos was born in Lerdo, Durango, Mexico and was raised in El Paso, Texas. He was the eldest of eight siblings. After high school, he served in the National Guard and in the U.S. Army. He received several commendations for his work in the Army Ordinance Department during WWII and he was honorably discharged after the war. Carlos earned a BA degree in Science and a Masters Degree in Education from Texas Western College in El Paso and taught in the El Paso Public School System for 5 years. He moved to California in 1955, did post graduate work at UC Berkeley and taught in the Special Education Department in Contra Costa County. He worked part time as an assistant professor in the area of Special Education at San Jose State University for over 10 years. After moving to Aptos in 1962, he worked for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education as a consultant in the area of Special Education and then served as a district level administrator in Pajaro Valley Unified School District for 14 years. Carlos moved to the Dominican Republic with his family in 1967 for 2 years of service with the US Embassy as Chief of Party with a group of SJS professors assigned to work with the Dominican Ministry of Education. In addition, he co-directed a Summer Study Institute in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 1974 and 1975. This Institute was a cooperative venture between Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and La Universidad Veracruzana. In addition to his work to improve the educational experiences of children, he served on the boards of many Santa Cruz County community organizations over the years including the: Alcohol Advisory Council, American Cancer Society, Cabrillo Stroke Center, County Housing Advisory Commission, County Housing Authority, Easter Seal Society, Family Service Association of Watsonville, Friends of Freedom Library, Grand Jury, Growth and Opportunity of Morgan Hill, Italian Catholic Federation (Branch 227), Knights of Columbus (Council 971), San Benito County Seniors Council, Santa Cruz County Seniors Council, and Watsonville Community Hospital. Carlos was an avid tennis player for most of his life. He also enjoyed home repair and volunteered time making homes accessible and safe for the disabled, driving disabled clients to health providers, and serving as a St. Joseph's Eucharistic Minister to the homebound and elderly. Carlos was preceded in death by his wife of over sixty years, Aurora, in 2007. He is survived by: his brother, Edmundo of Pinole and his sister, Alicia of Castro Valley; his two daughters, Jasmine of Santa Cruz and Chris of Gilroy; their spouses, Paul and Michael; grandchildren Marisa Reyes and her husband Toby of Gilroy, Adrián Chávez of Aptos, Maya Garcia and her husband Dave of Studio City; great grandchildren Samantha, Kalia and Dominic of Gilroy; a great great grand-daughter, Alizé of Gilroy; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial celebration for Carlos will be held on Saturday, August 28 at 1:00 pm at the Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga Street, Santa Cruz. Private interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made in Carlos' name to California Grey Bears, Inc. 2710 Chanticleer Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95065-1812, telephone (831) 479-1055.
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