Augustine Lopez Sr. served as chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation from 1971 to 1973 and was vice chairman under the late Thomas Segundo before that. Lopez walked on April 18 at his home in the Chuichu community in Arizona.
“When he served as chairman, Augustine always sought to do his best and serve the interests of the Tohono O’odham,” said Dr. Ned Norris Jr., current nation chairman, and Wavalene Romero, current vice chairwoman, in a statement. “He believed in empowering young people and had great respect for the O’odham Himdag.”
Lopez was a U.S. Air Force veteran, he worked as a cowboy, rancher and irrigator and he served as the director of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Tribal Work Experience Program and established the tribe’s Property & Supply Department.
“Never idle throughout his life, he coached little league teams and was a musician, playing instruments such as the violin, drums, guitar and saxophone,” the statement from the nation points out. “He passed his musical gift onto his children.”
He was born February 1, 1935 in Santa Rosa Village to Avalon and Theresa Joaquin Lopez. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ida; four daughters; two sons; 18 grandchildren; and 15 great grandchildren.
According to the statement from the nation, his children remember him as a “stern, funny man” who was always helping people.
He laid in state today April 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Tohono O’odham Nation Legislative Chambers. An all night wake began last night in the community of Chuichu and he will be laid to rest today, April 23.