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HUGO ENRIQUE LOPEZ ACUNA April 7, 1950 - June 25, 2012 Hugo Enrique Lopez, husband, lover, father, brother, child, took his last breath on this earth on Monday night, June 25, 2012, as his loving wife Linda Christina Maria kept vigil and held his hands. He was 62 years old. Left to make of the rest of her own life a monument to his is Hugo's wife Christina Lopez. Losing their father too early in their lives and his are Hugo's beloved children Victor Hugo Lopez Bustamante and Lita Haroldine Lopez-Shortill. Mourning the loss of their dear Enrique are his ten Lopez brothers and sisters: José (Moncho) in Winnipeg; in Chile Eugenio (Keno) with wife Gladis; Etelvina; Maria with husband Luis; Jorge (Nano) and wife Andrea; Alberto and wife Cora; Arturo; Hector (Pato); Pascuala and Cecilia. Hugo was Tio Enrique to many nieces and nephews in Chile and Winnipeg, who will miss him terribly. Forever to seek his absent master is Hugo's faithful sidekick, Monito. Hugo was predeceased by two older siblings who died in infancy, by his father, Luis Abdon Lopez Sepulveda (January 18, 1916 to December 7, 2004), and by Elba de las Mercedes Acuna Rojas (November 7, 1920 to March 12, 2003), who has received him back into her protecting mother's arms. Hugo was born in Molina, Chile, the fifth of 11 surviving children born to Elba and Luis. Hugo was a colourful storyteller with rich material to draw on and he wrote down his memoirs of his childhood in Chile. His parents were humble campesinos (farmers) and at a tender age Hugo and his brothers were expected to work as well. The Lopez family lived in an isolated rural area and radio, television and electric light were unknown to them; a car would pass by their home once a week maybe. So many children in one family meant there were enough players for a futbol match if the baby and a dog were included on the teams. When Hugo was seven years old, their father's Christmas gift to him and his siblings was a plastic futbol. They were fascinated by its beauty, until then having used a ball they made by winding cochayuyo (thick rubbery ocean seaweed) into a tight bunch and tying it up in a rag. There was great excitement as the teams were selected and spectators assembled, but the match was quickly suspended when the very first kick deflated the beautiful new ball as it sailed through the air. Hugo's strength of character was apparent early in his life. In 1958, during a major earthquake, he climbed up on a rock and extended his arms, commanding the earth to obey him and stop shuddering. His self-confidence was such that doubtless the damage of the temblor would have been much less had his mother not thrown her shoe at him to knock him off his dangerous perch. The Lopez family eventually moved to Puente Alto, a suburb of Santiago, which remains the family seat to this day. A pre-teen in the big city, Hugo was a good kid, but he and his companeros were still rascals, quietly putting tape in the hair of ladies and girls in the seat in front of them on the bus. As a lollo (teenager) Hugo was very handsome and stylish in his clothing. A sharp haircut was essential. To make their wardrobes appear more varied, he and his friends would trade sweaters after a week, and Hugo's sister would sew a stripe onto a sleeve to make it look like a new shirt. Hugo's mother was a very intelligent woman, despite lacking a formal education. With a loan Elba managed to buy an almacén (corner store) and Hugo along with his siblings worked in the family store. Hugo had a knack for business and math, a talent shared by many in the Lopez clan. He always maintained that, had he stayed in Chile, he certainly would have owned a large successful almacen or other business eventually. Hugo's family members were unaware that in the 1970s they were about to enter a dark era. Chile was seriously divided along political lines that would ultimately affect everyone, regardless of ideological affiliation or indifference. Hugo, his mother, and many of his siblings and neighbours were loyal supporters of the elected socialist president Salvador Allende, while as many others favoured the political right. By 1973, social and political tension had reached a fever pitch and and on September 11 of that year, the military coup, the murder of Allende and the assumed presidency of Augusto Pinochet changed the direction of Hugo's life. Over the following years and into the 1980s, he and several of his brothers would be arrested, detained and tortured, owing to their known socialist sympathies. Hugo was not relegated, but two of his brothers were. In 1976, Hugo joined the political exodus, fleeing Chile with his brother Moncho as political refugees first to Lima, Peru for one year, and then to Winnipeg. When Hugo arrived in Winnipeg he quickly became immersed in the Chilean community in the city. The focus of the refugee community in the 1970s and 1980s was solidarity with Chile, and Hugo as well as his comrades were waiting for the coup to fail in order to return home. While keeping his political vigil, Hugo found work as an asphalt-and-gravel roofer and progressed to becoming a Foreman, the trade he practiced until his retirement in 2011. The birth of Hugo's first child, Victor Hugo, augured well when he was born on the fiesta patria. Hugo was very proud of this child's musical talent, especially his ability as a composer. He was very pleased and satisfied that Victor grew up completely bilingual in Spanish and English, and has chosen to devote his life to his love of music. In 1985, Hugo was repatriated to Chile by the United Nations, and he returned to his mother country as a freedom fighter. The co-ordinated political attempt to unseat Pinochet in Chile failed and, hopes dashed, Hugo returned to Winnipeg to begin a new phase in his life. Though a patriotic Chilean, he began to focus on making Winnipeg his settled home. In 1989, he became a Canadian citizen, while remaining a respected and admired leader in the local Chilean community. He served as President of La Asociacion de Chilenos de Winnipeg and helped bring music and folk dance groups from Chile for Folklorama. In 1995, Hugo welcomed his beloved second child, Lita, of whom he has always been proud for her intelligence and writing talent, but most especially simply for being his daughter. They enjoyed intellectual jousting, playing cards and giving each other books as gifts. Hugo was delighted at Lita's well-developed social conscience and interest in current affairs. Hugo used his free time from the roofing trade in winter to return to Chile often and he bought a plot of land there in the cottage area of El Yeco. In 2006, Hugo joined his life with Christina's. It was amor a primera mano (love at first hand) and they were the loves of each other's' lives. They were devoted to one another and shared everything, content to live in a colourful little abode with Hugo Street as the nearest crossroad. They travelled often to Chile for ever longer vacations, building together their home in El Yeco. During his 15-month long odyssey on the perilous waters of cancer, Christina and Hugo made spending their time together in Winnipeg and Chile their most important priority, second only to their focus on his health. Hugo had always been a physically fit and active person, playing Sunday futbol with La Liga Ayayay, restricted to players over a certain age quite logically to eliminate unfair competition from younger players free of aches and pains. (A couple of exceptions were made for Hugo's nephews, but only grudgingly.) Hugo jogged and played tennis outdoors with friends in Winnipeg and in Chile. He won second place in the El Yeco Open one summer, defeated only by a younger more habitual player and a bit of a hangover. Only recently was he unable to continue biking and walking in the field near Hugo Street with his perrito (doggie) Monito. His illness did not hamper him, however, in his favourite intellectual pursuits. He continued to study chess problems and pulled out the board every time Victor Hugo walked in the door. By his own account he always won against his son, but he would not lie when the computerized chess game would outwit him occasionally. He usually won a hot game of Briska and was an unbending referee when Lita or Christina would accidentally break rules in the game. He continued to support La U in every futbol match, and took satisfaction in the defeats suffered by Colo Colo. He religiously followed international and especially Latin American politics by tuning in daily to Telesur on the internet. Ever an admiring disciple of el Comandante Jefe Fidel Castro, Hugo fanatically read and participated in Cubadebate on the internet. Daily he contributed numerous commentaries on articles and the Reflexiones de Fidel, and by the end of 2011 he earned top 5 standing on the website as the most prolific commentator on Fidel's Reflections. It is not fair, nor was it predictable that Hugo Enrique Lopez would be unable to continue enjoying Cubadebate, weekly visits with his compa eros and children, Neruda and vino with his wife and southern hemisphere summers with his siblings in Chile. But Hugo Lopez could not be owned or held by anyone or anything. His greatest characteristics were his extreme self-confidence, his individuality and his courage. He regularly made bold decisions on difficult personal issues, but never ever with intent to hurt another person. He didn't just express opinion, but acted with decisiveness in all things, never regretting his actions because he had considered them well beforehand, never relying on another's counsel, never being discouraged by another's negative opinion, being guided only by his own noble sense of what is good and right and indeed, fun. Hugo Lopez knew he did not have good luck or bad luck and it is certain that none of us do. Hugo Lopez made decisions and embraced their consequences, taking credit and responsibility for the results of his actions, good and occasionally not so good. In his final year, he lived more than ever according to those standards, and he has shown us all that inertia out of fear of the unknown at the expense of one's liberation is utter folly and a waste of life. For all the pain of losing Hugo Lopez so early, of him losing life so early, it will never be said of him that he did not live his life well for himself and for others, as we too should all be so brave in living what remains to us of ours without him. Hugo Enrique's family would like to thank the following beloved relatives and friends for their love and support over the past 15 months: mother and father-in-law Susanne and Wladimir Petriuk; Susan Shortill, Lita's mother; Berta Bustamante, Victor Hugo's mother; sisters-in-law Daniela Wightman with husband Bob, nurse Andrea Cook and Martina Hutchison with husband Dale; nieces Katie and Emilie Cook; nephews Anthony, Dominique and Benedict Wightman; in Winnipeg nephews Felipe Lopez, and Alex and Jaime Lopez; in Winnipeg niece Cecilia Valeska Lopez; also in Winnipeg via Miami, niece Elihu Lopez; Vicki Bustamante, Victor's aunt; in Chile niece Gaby Lopez with husband Mauricio Rojas, nieces Karin Cornejo and Gladis (Yoli) Sandoval and great-niece Daniela Sandoval; in Chile nephews Satkrim Lopez and Camilo Lara Lopez; in Winnipeg dear friends and comrades Pedro Pontanilla with wife Carmen, Jaime Carrasco with wife Ana, Jose (Pepe) Koch with wife Lucy, Amador Campos with his beloved, Cheryl Cottrell, Francisco Valenzuela, Fernando (Serpico) Navarro, Camilo Droguett, Luis Calderon with wife Fidelisa, Oscar Concha with wife Ana, Leandro Silva and Vito Gajardo; in Winnipeg dear friends Sylvia Marshall, Waltraud Klatt, Erika Meyer, Luise Fiala and Bev Ward; in the United States dear friend Nicole Ward; in Chile faithful friends and companeros Jose (Coteto) Valenzuela with wife Maria (Coti), Rodrigo Salazar with wife Aurora Lopez, daughter Carmen Salazar and nephew Mario Guzmán. The Lopez family is deeply grateful for the work, dedication, support and kindess of the following people: Aaron Bowskill and Gerhard Peters of Thomson In the Park; Dr. Tim Hiebert of the WRHA Palliative Care Program; palliative care nurses Cathy, Kate, Germaine, Jo-Ann, Jennifer, Corinne, Ann and Mary-Anne; home care workers James, Richard, Deen, Josefina and Aman; the Emergency doctors, nurses and staff at St. Boniface General Hospital; paramedics at the WFPS; nurses Pam Johnston, Linda Davidson and Deb Scott of CancerCare Manitoba; Dr. Amitava Chowdhury and Dr. Garry Harding of CancerCare Manitoba; pharmacist Rick Prayag, Carolyn Jardine, Girlie, Maricel, Angela Martens, the radiation staff, the pharmacy staff and the chemotherapy staff of CancerCare Manitoba; Dr. Helmut Unruh; Dr. Juan Cordova; the staff at Coughlin Associates Ltd.; Larry Boyko of SWMIA Local Union 511; management and staff at M.J. Roofing Supply Ltd.; Catherine Howden, Elaine Ferguson, Marwa Baioumy, Rebecca Chambers and Benjamin Hecht of Pitblado Law; Bruce Owen and Phil Hossack of the Winnipeg Free Press. Most of all it is our bien amado Hugo Enrique himself that we thank. Te queremos, Enrique! Viva H LO! We love you, Enrique! Long live H LO! The funeral of Hugo Lopez will be held on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at Thomson In the Park Funeral Home, 1291 McGillivray Boulevard in Winnipeg. Soneto LXXXI - Pablo Neruda Ya eres mio. Reposa con tu sueno en mi sueno. Amor, dolor, trabajos, deben dormir ahora. Gira la noche sobre sus invisibles ruedas y junto a mi eres pura como el ámbar durmido. Ninguno más, amor, dormirá con mis suenos. Irás, iremos junto por las aguas del tiempo. Ninguno viajará por la sombra conmigo, solo tu, siemprevivo, siempre sol, siempre luna. Ya tus manos abrieron los punos delicados y dejaron caer suaves signos sin rumbo, tus ojos se cerraron como do alas grises, mientras yo sigo el agua que llevas y me lleva: la noche, el mundo, el viento devanan su destino, y ya no soy sin ti sino solo tu sueno. Sonnet LXXXI - Pablo Neruda Now you are mine. Rest with your dream in my dream. Love, pain, labour, should sleep now. The night turns on its invisible wheels and beside me you are pure as sleeping amber. No other, my love, will sleep with my dreams. You will go, we will go together on the waters of time. No other will journey through the shadows with me, only you, ever living, forever sun, forever moon. Your hands opened their delicate fists and let fall soft aimless signals, your eyes closed like two grey wings, while I follow the water that you carry and that carries me: the night, the world, the wind their destiny, and I am not without you but only your dream." THOMSON "IN THE PARK" 925-1120 Condolences may be sent to www.thomsoninthepark.com
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 30, 2012
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