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Richard Lopez

1938 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Richard Lopez Obituary
Richard Henry Lopez

Richard Henry Lopez, age 79, passed away unexpectedly on October 22, 2017. He was born on July 15, 1938 in Albuquerque where he lived most of his life. He graduated from Valley High School and attended the University of New Mexico until joining the United States Army in 1959 to serve his country through helicopter avionics and maintenance at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and Rose Barracks in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

Following his honorable discharge from the military in 1962, Richard joined the Albuquerque Fire Department and retired after 23 years of dedicated service to the community. He was one of AFD's first four paramedics and received his training at the UNM School of Medicine. Richard then trained others to be paramedics. During his career, he brought lives into the world and saved many others, including his own father when he found him suffering from a heart attack.

Richard was also a small business owner who owned and operated Cashway Lumber Company, a well-known business in the South Valley started by his father, S.M. (Slim) Lopez in 1945, known then as Lopez Lumber Company. Richard and his brother took over the business until the National Hispanic Cultural Center was built on that location. He was also a successful developer and builder of custom homes.

Richard was a compassionate man who was dedicated to his family, his work, and the community. Although his accomplishments were many, he remained a humble man who lived his life treating others as he would like to be treated and helping anyone in need without expecting anything in return. He was proud of his family history dating back to the 16th Century and was a descendant of New Mexico's first and second territorial governors. Sandoval County was named after his grandfather when the area now known as Corrales still consisted of the Sandoval family's many apple orchards.

Although Richard's children were all considered special in his eyes, one child also had special needs as the result of mitochondrial disease, a metabolic disorder not well known to the local community of physicians and hospitals. Richard retired early to assist his wife in providing the 24-hour care required by their son, and always knew what their deaf and nonverbal son wanted or needed. Their bond was deep and it was very special. Richard was a loving father to all of his children, but to his special child he was his best friend and constant companion.

Richard was proud of his family, their achievements, and encouraged and supported the family's long-standing goals to promote education, health, and community involvement for individuals with special needs, rare medical disorders, and complex medical cases. His family remains active in his honor to do what is necessary to end medical discrimination because of their belief that access to appropriate medical care should have no barriers.

Richard is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Virginia Caldwell Lopez; daughter, Victoria L. Lopez; sons, Robert L. Lopez, David L. Lopez, and Steven L. Lopez, and his wife; and two granddaughters.

A "Last Alarm" Service will be held for Richard by his brothers in the Albuquerque Fire Department. He will also receive full military honors. Viewing will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 6, 2017 with Rosary following at 7:00 p.m. at FRENCH â€" University. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 1:00 p.m., at FRENCH â€" University. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul Blvd. NE. Please visit our online guestbook for Richard at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Nov. 5, 2017
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