Dr. Guillermo Lpez of El Macero died peacefully in his sleep on August 1, 2009. He was born in Ajo, Arizona, the second of four children. He left home at the age of fourteen and traveled to Los Angeles, California, in search of work. At sixteen, being homeless, he joined the Navy during World War II and became a Medical Corpsman serving in the Asia. When the war ended, a mentor encouraged and aided him in applying to the University of California at Santa Barbara. He thrived, due in part to the knowledge he had gained in the Navy.
His first two years, at the University were a struggle, but Guillermo exceeded expectations during his third and fourth years. It was at UCSB that he met his wife Delfina, and they married in 1951. Their four children were born in Santa Barbara.
Upon graduation, Guillermo went to work doing cancer research at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. After three years there, he became a biology teacher at Santa Barbara High School. Later, he taught at San Marcos High School and finally became Director of Special Projects. During this time, he continued his education. He received four summer National Science Foundation grants (Berkeley and Colorado), and spent several years at UCLA obtaining his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Education.
Guillermo went on to become Assistant Superintendant of Schools in Vallejo, California, Superintendent in West Sacramento, and Director of Bilingual Education for the State of California. He was considered an outstanding pioneer in Bilingual Education and was recognized with numerous awards.
He lived in Davis forty years and was actively involved in St. James Church, serving as lector, commentator, and leader/member of the R.C.I.A. for eleven years. Even though he suffered five strokes and pneumonia during the last twenty years of his life, each time he fought back to good health and continued to work, play, travel, and enjoy grandchildren and friends. One joy for Guillermo and Delfina was their condo on the beach in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where they spent several months in the winter and summer.
Guillermo was preceded in death by two children, Edmond and Lori, and brother Robert of Ajo, Arizona.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years Delfina, a brother Benny and wife Concha of Ajo, a sister Lina Olais and husband Aniceto also of Ajo, a son David and wife Holly of Thousand Oaks, a son Miguel of Albany, California, and four grandchildren - Allison, Toms, Lesly, and Geoffrey. He also leaves an extended family, the Escobar-Pedrin family and their daughters Elsa and Rosario from Rosarito Beach, plus numerous nieces and nephews in Arizona.
The family wishes to thank his two compassionate caregivers, Henry Radravu and Martin Vakamoce, as well as the Yolo Hospice and the Threshold Singers, who always brought smiles and joy.
A celebration mass of Guillermos life will be held Monday, August 10, at 11 A.M. at St. James Church in Davis, followed by a reception in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, for those wishing to remember Guillermo, a special fund has been established to purchase a bench to be placed in downtown Davis so that those who need to rest can sit and enjoy the wonderful community in which we live. Please make donations payable to the Guillermo Lopez Memorial Bench. Send donations to the fund sponsor Kathi Joy, 417 Mace Blvd., Suite J, PMB #134, Davis, CA 95618. Memorial donations may also be made to a favorite charitable organization.