Leroy  Lopez
Leroy Lopez

October 8, 1936 - November 9, 2016
Born in Segundo, CO
Resided in Westminster, CO
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Obituary

Leroy Lopez, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, grandfather, friend, and educator died on November 9, 2016. A descendant of Spanish colonial settlers, he was born October 8, 1936, to Ramona Padilla Lopez and Jose Elfido Lopez. His paternal grandparents founded Cordova Plaza west of Trinidad, Colorado, in 1866. He was raised on his parents' farm near Segundo and attended Sarcillo grade school, which was founded in 1904 by his great-grandfather, Noberto Cordova. He graduated from Primero High School, Trinidad Junior College, and Adams State College where he earned both his Bachelor's Degree in Education and later, a Master's Degree.

Leroy returned home to teach school for the next two years. In 1960, he and his friend Herman Abeyta, with whom he shared 16 years of education, moved to Denver. Leroy began his 33-year career with Denver Public Schools (DPS) at Baker Junior High School as a substitute teacher. At Baker, he established many life-long friendships with other educators who shared his passion and commitment to students, especially those who were disadvantaged. Leroy was noticed early-on by DPS District administrators and was entrusted with several special projects at a time of turmoil within the District. He was selected to attend a special program at the University of New Mexico regarding Hispanic education and there earned his second Master's degree. After returning to DPS, he was promoted to Assistant Principal at Kepner Junior High and was appointed to help develop the Middle School model for the District. Subsequently, Leroy was Assistant Principal at John F. Kennedy and Principal at both Skinner Middle School and at John F. Kennedy before being appointed as Assistant Superintendent for High Schools. During his tenure in central administration, DPS was testing different models of supporting schools. He was variously Assistant Superintendent for one quadrant of the District K-12, two quadrants and finally Associate Superintendent of Education for the entire District. During these years Leroy earned an additional Specialist degree and his Superintendent's licensure. He retired from the Denver Public Schools in 1994. Principals and others under his supervision expressed their deep regret for his departure and long after he was gone, continued to verbalize their gratitude for his leadership and for the respect he consistently displayed towards them. He accepted the position of Superintendent of Schools in Las Animas, Colorado. After three years in Las Animas, he became Superintendent at District 200 in Elbert, Colorado in order to be closer to Denver. Intending to be there three years, he was persuaded by staff, community and the school board to remain an additional 4 years. The staff has continued to maintain contact due to the respect and deep affection they feel for Leroy.

Family, friends, colleagues, and students benefited from Leroy's keen intelligence, character, and compassion. He was a gifted and humorous storyteller. An athlete in school, he maintained a lifelong interest in sports, especially baseball and basketball. In Leroy's son Davin, born in 1972 to his former wife Judith, he instilled a love of travel, the outdoors, and sports, a bond that would they would share throughout his life. The love he learned from being a father transferred to other parts of his life. He brought his gift of caring deeply and became an integral part of Pat's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren's lives and is greatly beloved by them all. Pat and Leroy shared many interests and enjoyed life together from quiet conversation to travel to many parts of the United States and to Spain.
He was preceded in death by his parents; former wife Judith Knutson-Lopez; brothers Filbert Martin, Felix Lopez, Joseph Lopez, and John Lopez; sisters Corrine Griego, Albina Esparza, and Elsie Hammontree; and several sisters- and brothers-in-law.

He is survived by his son Davin Lopez (Julie Widholm); wife Pat Lopez and her sons Bradley (Kim), Randy (Sarah), Daren (Lisa), and daughter Amy (Rocky), fifteen grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren; sisters Mary Siegele (George, dec.) of Illinois, Sylvia Jeppson (Neal) of California, Bernice Lopez Waddington (Walter, dec.) of New Mexico; sister-in-law Janis Davis Lopez of Loveland, Colorado; many nieces and nephews; and childhood and lifelong friend Herman Abeyta.

All who knew Leroy will miss his quiet manner, dignity, ready chuckle, sweet smile, and the sound of his voice.

Memorial Services honoring Leroy will be Friday, November 18, 2016, beginning at 11:00 AM at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 10 East 120th Avenue, in Northglenn, Colorado 80233.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Leroy's name to:

DPS Pupil Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 100312
Denver, Colorado 80250

or

DPS Foundation
1860 Lincoln Street, 9th Floor
Denver, Colorado 80203-2907

Please share your memories of Leroy and condolences with his family by signing the guestbook below.

Guestbook

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Services

Memorial Service
Ramada Plaza Hotel
10 East 120th Avenue
Northglenn, CO 80233
Friday, November 18, 2016
11:00 AM

Charities

DPS Pupil Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 100312
Denver, CO 80250
To facilitate the mission of the Denver Public Schools by providing funds for special projects, goods and services that support the school readiness, student engagement and academic success of Denver Public School students from low income families.
DPS Foundation
1860 Lincoln Street, 9th Floor
Denver, CO 80203-2907
In partnership with Denver Public Schools, we raise and manage funds, make strategic program investments, and serve as community leaders so that all students have the opportunity to succeed.