Chris Lopez died peacefully at 8:50 a.m., Sunday, May 24, 2015, after a short, intense battle with cancer. His long-time partner, Kate Rich, and sons, Dylan and Simon, were in attendance.
A bonfire in celebration of Chris’s life will be held Saturday, May 30, 2015, at Bishop’s Beach, beginning at 8 p.m., with a short program and tributes to begin at 9 p.m. Friends and family may visit anytime this week at the home of Vickie Rich, 355 Whispering Meadows Ave., Homer, where a table displaying photos of Chris is available.
Chris was a devoted father and teacher who always had time to talk. He loved to ride around Homer in his truck, stopping to chat with friends or holding court at the local coffee shop. He had a long-time love affair with wooden boats, and spent many hours in the Homer boat yard, working on his 42-foot wooden schooner, Rogue.
He was active in the cleanup of the Valdez oil spill in 1989 and he believed in caring for the planet. During his lifetime, he travelled to Mexico, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Cambodia, Wales, Spain, Holland and other places he forgot even to tell us about. He was looking forward to walking El Camino de Santiago someday with his family.
Many of his friends and family members called him “Mr. Safety.” A natural born teacher, he travelled all over Alaska teaching courses in marine safety, cold water survival and navigation, often through AMSEA. He also built a submersible chair and started an independent nonprofit providing helicopter egress training.
Chris spent his childhood on Long Island in New York and lived in Delray Beach, Fla., prior to moving to Alaska in 1986 and settling in Homer. He was known as a “jack of all trades” and will be remembered for some of his favorite sayings: “Luck favors the prepared,” “Indecision is the key to flexibility,” “Breathe deep and seek peace,” and “Love your guts.”
He will be sadly missed by his immediate family, Kate Rich and Simon Lopez of Homer, Dylan Lopez of Sante Fe, N.M., and many extended family and friends.