Champion - H. Alfred Lopez, 90, passed away on Wednesday January 23, 2019 at Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
He was born November 1, 1928 in Clarksburg West Virginia, the son of the Enrique Lopez and the former Carmen Fernandez.
Al was a graduate of Victory High School and received his B.S. in Biology and Education from Salem College where he lettered for three years in football, basketball, baseball, and one year in golf. He graduated from Salem College in 1952. He earned his Master’s in Education degree from Westminster (PA) College in 1967, and performed additional graduate studies at Kent State University and Akron University.
In 1952, Al enlisted in the United States Army where he served in the Army Research and Development branch until his discharge in 1954. Following his discharge from the service, he began his career as an educator at Green High School in Trumbull County where he taught biology, while also acting as basketball, baseball and track coaches and athletic director for two years. Al then began teaching at Braceville High School, where he acted in similar capacities for eleven years. He led the Braceville basketball team to the 1959 Regional Finals and led the school’s Diamond squad to the state tournament in 1960.
Al then became Principal of Braceville High School in 1965 and became Superintendent of the Braceville School system in 1967, until the LaBrae School System was formed in 1975. He then acted as Superintendent of the LaBrae School System until his retirement in 1987.
For more than 40 years, Al Lopez provided enormous and dedicated service to the Ohio High School Athletic Association as a District Board member, a State Board of Control member and as Northeast District Athletic Board Treasurer. He was first elected to the Northeast District Athletic Board in 1972 as a Class "AA" representative. While on the Northeast DAB, he served on the OHSAA Board of Control from 1974-76 and was elected board president in 1975.
Al was also a pioneer in promoting athletic activities for young women. In 1974, he made the motion that Ohio hold the first state championships for girls in track and field. This culminated in additional state championships in girls' basketball and softball. Al was elected to a second time to the OHSAA Board of Control in 1986.
Throughout his 40-year career, Al actively shaped the lives and characters of countless student athletes. His pleasant demeanor and unflagging support to education also influenced the lives of many other young people, who were not athletes. In 1982, at the urging of his fellow board members, Al accepted the duties of Northeast District Athletic Board Treasurer, a position he would hold for 31 years. As Treasurer, Al oversaw the fiscal affairs for Ohio's largest athletic district with 238 high schools that included organizing and managing the first two rounds of Ohio Athletic tournaments in 21 of the 24 Association's sports.
Over his decades of service, Al worked closely with literally hundreds of tournament managers, developing countless friendships along the way. While serving the Northeast District Athletic Board and the State Association, Al was instrumental in helping the to expand Ohio high school athletics from 10 boys’ sports with 24 divisions to 12 boys sports with 37 divisions. For girls, he assisted in expanding that from and one girls sport with one division in 1972 to 12 girls’ sports with 31 divisions today.
In 1983, Al was recognized for his remarkable and lasting contributions to high school basketball with a lifetime membership in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1993, Al received Ohio's National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Award for Outstanding Service. In 2014, he received the National Federation of State High School Associations' State Award for Outstanding Service.
Al was an avid golfer, fisherman, and hunter. He enjoyed traveling, spending time with his family and gardening. He was a member of the Newton Falls Kiwanis Club and the Braceville Lions Club.
Al is survived by his daughters Michelle (Timothy) Fraelich, and Lisa (Brian) Gregory both of Champion, his grandsons Ryan (Danielle) Fraelich, and Brian Gregory Jr. and his companion of 17 years Shirley Sweet of Howland.
He was preceded in death by his wife the former Nancy Malone, his sisters, Mary Perez and Henrietta Rodriguez, and his brother Andrew.
Family and friends may pay their respects Thursday, January 31, 2019 from 4:00 to 7;00 p.m. at the Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel 1884 North Rd. NE, Warren, Ohio 44483 and Friday, February 1, 2019 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at St. John Paul II Parish (St. Joseph Church) 420 North St. NW, Warren, Ohio 44483.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Church with Rev. Christopher Henyk officiating.
Burial will be in All Souls Cemetery in Bazetta.
In lieu of flowers and at the request of his family, donations may be made to the Al Lopez Memorial Athletic Scholarship Fund, so that Al’s legacy will be to continue to influence the development and lives of young athletes in Ohio. Donations should be sent to the LaBrae Board of Education, 1001 North Leavitt Rd., Leavittsburg, Ohio 44430. Attention: Carol Jones.
Family and friends may visit www.peterrossiandsonfh.com to view this obituary, sign the guestbook, and send condolences to Alfred’s family.
Al Lopez Memorial Athletic Scholarship Fund
1001 North Leavitt Rd., Leavittsburg OH 44430