Richard Robert Lopez
“Red”, born Richard Robert Lopez passed away peacefully, with his daughters by his side on November 7, 2021, after a short and sudden illness. Red was the first child born to Emma (Grand) and Robert Lopez, here in Santa Barbara on October 23, 1937.
Growing up in Montecito and Santa Barbara with his four siblings, Red (nicknamed for his red hair) liked being outdoors and spending time with family. He attended local schools and after high school joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He played in the Marine Corps marching band (clarinet) and was their instrument mechanic and maintenance person. Once home from the Marine Corps, he began his 40 year career with the U.S. Post Office. He loved his job, and always went the extra mile, especially with the elderly. He would take time to read their mail to them, carry packages or help with unrelated needs. Red met his forever love, Barbara in 1964. Barbara was a single mom with three young daughters, all under the age of 5. Red quickly embraced the challenge of a ready made family, and loved those girls as if they were his own. Red had many hobbies through the years. He loved hunting with his dad and other relatives. We always knew when it was deer season! Best jerky ever!! Bartending at Toscan’s bar was a little side job he had, though we’re guessing it wasn’t like a job. He loved the atmosphere, joking around and seeing friends and family out, having a good time. Later he coached baseball for Goleta Valley South Little League. He met life long friends while coaching and was loved by all. As time went on he picked up the barbecuing bug, and did that for several years, on and off with a few close friends and family. The team of BBQers would change, but the catering remained the same. Have fun while putting out a good meal for others to enjoy. He would boast about catering for the many different entertainers that came to town, and having backstage passes. Red liked to be where the action was. Red was always willing to help whenever needed, no questions asked. Red really shined as a caregiver. When Barbara started to show signs of dementia, Red was there, 24/7, anything she needed. Though being a caregiver is thankless and exhausting, Red never once complained. Red was by Barbara’s side every step of the way until her passing, in 2012. When Barbara died, Red was on his own, and determined to do life his way and by himself. Now with extra time on his hands he began to pitch in and help with his mom, which as time went on, turned into his daily routine until she passed earlier this year at the age of 103.
Richard, very loved by his family, is survived by his three daughters, Cynthia Menegon (Cookie), Lisa De St Jean (Ken), Janice Placencia (David), Nine grandchildren, Robert, Rhea, Cassandra, Christopher, Steven, Jenna, Joseph, Hillary and Rebecca. He also had eleven great-grandchildren. Three siblings, Mary, Mike and Ron and their spouses, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws. Richard was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Lopez, his father Robert Lopez, his mother Emma Lopez, his sister Bernice Romero and his nephew Robert Lopez.
Red was one in a million, and will truly be missed. He always made light of a situation, looking for the bright side of things. Always had a joke and some sort of information he thought you should know. He always had a nickname for those closest to him, and loved wearing a good baseball cap. Mama hit the jackpot when she met Papa. He was the best father anyone could ever ask for. We were very blessed and knew it. The way in which he lived his life, with zest, dignity, grace, strength and courage is something to emulate. We love you Papa, you are our hero, may you rest peacefully. Say hi to Mama and please, always watch over us.
We’d like to thank Cottage MICU for accommodating us and caring for our dad. In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite charity.
Graveside services will be held Monday at 11:30 am, November 22, 2021 at Calvary Cemetery, 199 N. Hope Ave. Santa Barbara, Ca. 93110. This will be a casual dress service.