A community came out Friday to say goodbye to Dennis Lopez. The funeral mass at Sacred Heart Church for the longtime educator, San Luis Valley historian and storyteller drew in hundreds from across the San Luis Valley who paid their final respects.
The mass saw a performance from Mariachi de San Luis and the attendees saw Lopez give his acceptance speech when Adams State honored him in October with its Billy Adams Award.
Here are some of the remembrances for Lopez, who died last week at the age of 71. He is survived by his wife, Sally, and sons Jose, Juan Carlos, and Ricardo.
DENNIS Lopez was one of the founding members of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Dennis was a huge wealth of knowledge to the heritage area. He shared his research of settlements, history, heritage, traditions, cultures, and our unique Valley speech. His priority with the heritage area was to preserve, protect, rehabilitate and restore all these unique characteristics within the heritage area which “is unlike any place else.” Dennis was very proud of his roots in the Valley and valued his upbringing which made him the person he became. His heritage, culture and traditions were very important to him, especially teaching it to his family. The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area has had the great privilege of learning from and working with Dennis. He was extremely valued, appreciated and will truly be missed.
I just can’t believe that he is gone. My deepest condolences to Sally and family. May Dennis Rest In Peace. Prayers for all. – Jesse Mondragon\
MY deepest condolences condolences to my cousin Sally and her sons. Dennis left a lasting impression on all who he came in contact with. May he rest in peace and may his family treasure his memory forever. – Inez Gonzalez
AN incredible man and role model to so many. Rest in Peace. – Sandie Wehe
MY heart breaks for my cousin Sally and her family. Rest in peace primo Dennis Lopez. You were always the kindest, sweetest person ever and always had a wonderful smile and made everyone happy and smile with you. You will be truly missed. – Joyce Cardenas
HE was the best principal AHS ever had. My prayers & thoughts to his family. – Kyle Williams
MR. Lopez truly cared about his community. Our deepest condolences to Sally and the boys. – Mathilda Westerman
BEAUTIFUL person who will forever be a complete follower of the Lord. Prayers go out to his wife Sally and his boys. – Carla Archuleta
DENNIS is such an important treasure of knowledge, proud of his heritage, lost but not forgotten. Always enjoyed talking with you. Heaven is your new home. Rest In Peace. – Cathy Serna
Photos by C. Claire Lara
Photos by C. Claire Lara