Eugene Manuel Lopes, age 72, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, November 24, 2017 among loved ones at his home in Aromas, California. He was born on September 18, 1945 in the town of Rosais in São Jorge, Azores to Manuel and Rosa Avila Lopes. He immigrated to California in 1962 with his family.
Gene loved carpentry and worked as a general contractor for most of his adult life, building and renovating many homes throughout California. He was employed by Green Giant Company for over 30 years as a floor supervisor and master mechanic. Despite little formal education, he was a successful businessman, craftsman, jack of all trades, and a tinkerer. After only six years in the United States, he was recognized by Green Giant for designing a more efficient specialty food packaging system. Gene was always there to help friends with carpentry projects or whatever else they needed.
He enjoyed camping and fishing, giving tractor rides to his grandchildren, and spending time in his bountiful garden. Gene also enjoyed singing in the Valley Catholic Church choir and was very active in Portuguese cultural clubs, including Irmandade Santissima Trindade de Watsonville (I.S.T.W.) and Colonia Portuguesa do Divino Espirito Santo (C.P.D.E.S.) of Santa Cruz, having served previously as president and board member. He was the head chef for many crab feasts, steak dinners, and sopas throughout Watsonville and the Central Valley.
Gene is survived by his wife, Linda of 50 years; two daughters, Rosie (Nathan) Eads of San Francisco, CA and Lorrie (Scott) Fussell of Burke, VA; three grandchildren, Ethan Fussell (7), Nicholas Fussell (4), and Lola Eads (4); his three sisters, Natal Nascimento of São Jorge, Azores, Helena Dias of Newark, CA and Esmenia (Mary) DaSilva of Monterey, CA; and his brother, David Lopes of São Jorge, Azores; as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Noelia Bettencourt of Watsonville, CA. Gene was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to all.
Gene will be lovingly remembered for his sense of humor, ingenuity, and generous spirit.
Visitation will be from 5-9 pm on Monday, December 4th, at Mehl’s Colonial Chapel, 222 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville, California, with a celebration of life service at 7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 5th at 10 am at Valley Catholic Church, 2401 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville, California.