Louis Lopez Garnica (March 1930 – April 2024

Louis Lopez Garnica (March 1930 – April 2024

Louis Lopez Garnica, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away the morning of Thursday, April 4, 2024, at his home in Fillmore, California, surrounded by family members. He had recently been hospitalized for end stage renal disease and serious infections and had just celebrated his 94th birthday on March 4. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Viola Riesgo Garnica, who passed away in 2012.

Visitation will be held on Monday, April 15, 2024, from 1 pm to 8 pm, with recitation of the Rosary at 7pm, at Perez Family Funeral Home, 600 N. Central Ave., Fillmore.

Mass celebrating Louis’ 94 years of life will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 1048 West Ventura Street in Fillmore at 10 am on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Graveside services will follow at Bardsdale Cemetery. Reception details are forthcoming.

Louis Lopez Garnica was born on March 4, 1930, delivered at home to his parents Luis and Catalina Soto Garnica. The oldest of the Garnica children, Louis was a protective big brother to sister Katie Garnica Ramirez and younger brother George Garnica, who passed away in 2021. The three Garnica children grew up on Clay Street in Fillmore and attended Fillmore schools during the Depression and WWII. Louis’ mother Catalina died in 1945 but Louis excelled in school and earned his athletics letter. He delivered the graduation speech as 1948 FHS Senior Class President. Louis enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 1948 and was stationed in Tokyo, Japan, during the American occupation under the administration of
U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. After serving for three years in Army administration, Louis was honorably discharged on Aug. 5, 1951.

When he returned home in 1951, Louis lived in Los Angeles and enrolled in the National Schools occupational training program, under the GI Bill, hoping to find work as a mechanic. However, Louis had already begun corresponding with Viola Riesgo, his next-door neighbor in Fillmore and the two became engaged in 1953, marrying in 1955 and living for a time in South Los Angeles. The young couple relocated to Fillmore where they started their family and raised three daughters, Catherine (Garnica), Luanne (Schaper) and Debra (Louth).

Louis was a true “girl dad,” supporting his daughters’ aspirations to attend college after graduating from Fillmore High School. He proudly attended their respective college graduations from Pepperdine University, Seaver College, in Malibu, California in 1978, 1979 and 1982. Louis was especially proud that all five of his grandchildren graduated from the University of California and California State University colleges, reflecting Louis’ belief in the value of higher education.

Louis worked for the Fillmore School District as a janitor, bus driver and grounds worker before he became a bus driver for Newbury Park High when it was still part of the Oxnard High School District. While Viola began working for the Fashion Development (Olga) Corporation at the Fillmore plant, Louis eventually found employment in the early 1970s as a quality control technician with the Diamond Shamrock Corp. in Oxnard, which produced polyurethane and polyester resin for various fiberglass products. Louis commuted to Oxnard for more than 25 years as the company merged and changed names to Koppers Inc., and Reichold Corp. He retired when his youngest granddaughter, Megan Louth (Kullback), was born and he and wife Viola lovingly provided childcare for their five grandchildren.

Louis and Viola happily switched to grandparent mode and took the grandchildren on many adventures and vacations. They were also avid grandparent volunteers for youth track and took on chuck wagon duties for band competitions and Louis was a swim meet timer. They attended every race, concert, competition, performance, and awards ceremony for each grandchild that they could.

As the grandkids grew, Louis and Viola helped to fundraise for the new St. Francis of Assisi Church located on Highway 126, which just happened to be built adjacent to C Street in Fillmore where Louis’ family continued to remodel and enlarge their family home in the Los Serenos neighborhood. Louis and Viola co-chaired the St. Francis Church fundraiser fireworks booth for 16 years with the help of family and friends. Louis and Viola also made countless friends as members of the St. Francis Church-affiliated Los Padrinos and Los Caballeros organizations. In retirement the couple traveled along the historic “Route 66” highways through Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and South Dakota, visiting the Grand Canyon, San Antonio, Texas, and Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Louis was a dedicated L.A. Dodgers’ fan, attending games in the L.A. Coliseum when the team first relocated to the West Coast in 1958. He also enjoyed kicking back with a glass of wine in the backyard spa while enjoying good music.
Louis and his beloved wife Viola enjoyed 57 years of marriage before she died in 2012. He is survived by his sister Katie Ramirez of Fillmore and sister-in-law Eleanor Vargas of Fillmore; daughters Catherine Garnica of Fillmore, Luanne and son-in-law John Schaper of Simi Valley and Debra and son-in-law Kevin Louth of Fillmore. He is also survived by grandchildren William Louis Schaper (wife Sarah) of Brooklyn, NYC, Marie Schaper Zanderson (husband Sean) of Encinitas; Karen Louth Churchill (husband Ross) of Valencia, James Thomas Schaper (wife Allison) of Ventura, and Megan Louth Kullback (husband Kevin) of Saugus. In 2022 Megan and husband Kevin presented Louis with his first great- grandson, Kooper Louis Kullback.
Louis is survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, godsons and goddaughters and friends. Services are under the direction of the Perez Family Funeral Home of Fillmore.

Flower arrangements are welcome and memorial donations in Louis Garnica’s name may be made to the Fillmore High School Alumni Association.