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Maria deFatima (Avila) Lopes passed away after a lengthy illness on December 20, 2019. Some people knew her as Maria Lopes and others as Fatima Lopes, but even with two names, she was most definitely one of a kind. Maria was born on the island of Sao Jorge, Azores on September 16th, 1940 to Manuel and Filomena Avila. She grew up with few material possessions but in a house filled with the love of her parents, brother Jose and sisters Maria, Filomena and Emilia. She came to the United States in mid 1965 and married John shortly thereafter in February, 1966 which was the beginning of a loving 53 year marriage. They began their life together on the Lopes/Filipini dairy in Guadalupe owned by John's Uncle John and his wife Collette. They welcomed a son, Mario on New Year's Eve in 1966. A few years later, their daughter Natalie was born. With a toddler and infant in tow, they moved to the Filipini Ranch just outside of Buellton in early 1970. Their family grew once more with the birth of their youngest, Mark, six years later. They enjoyed almost 30 years on the ranch and would host New Years Day barbecues that would include 100 + people. Nothing made Maria happier than feeding people, the larger the group, the better. Of course, the lights of her life were her grandchildren. Andrew Warwick (22), Ashley Warwick (20), Victoria Lopes (19) and Elizabeth Lopes (16). She was a hands-on grandma who gladly provided daycare, babysitting, transportation, food and most importantly unending amounts of love. She would drop whatever she was doing when one of the kids called and asked for grandma's Portuguese donuts, a memory they will always cherish. She developed meaningful relationships and had many friends she made over her almost 50 years in the valley. She was a woman of immeasurable faith who never missed an opportunity to strengthen her relationship with God. She cherished her parish community and felt so blessed to be part of the Mission Santa Ines family. In addition to her immediate family she leaves behind numerous family members including in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and godchildren-each and every relationship which was treasured. After a life well lived and well loved, she will be missed by many, but we are comforted knowing she is at peace with the Lord. A Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, Jan 3rd at 10:00am at Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang, followed by Interment at Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard. Family and friends are invited to the Mission parish hall for lunch following the graveside service.
Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors