August 20, 1951 – March 7, 2021
Perhaps the best way to describe “The Damian Lopez Experience” is to go back to his mail delivery routes in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.
A pack rat of nothing other than vacation time, Damian regularly worked extra shifts to stockpile time off for his return trips to his native Canary Islands. Family was always first for Damian, but that's only a small part of the story. For the full story, you've got to look at Damian's first days back at work after these extended vacations. On those days, multiple businesses on the mail route would throw "welcome back" parties with donuts, coffee and more — for the return of their beloved mailman.
In an era where nobody knew their mailman, everyone knew Damian. Damian's magnetic personality was so strong that he essentially time-traveled his mail route to a long-ago era of the neighborhood mailman.
It's also on these mail routes that Damian would do one of his favorite things – something almost no one knew about. He would anonymously drop $50 gift cards into the mailboxes of folks on his route that he could sense were financially struggling. He would never tell anyone where they came from.
Those folks on his route would just believe an angel had visited them. It's that kind of angel that the world lost when Damian Lopez died on March 7, 2021 with his wife and love of his life, Barbara, by his side. He was 69 years old.
Damian fought High Risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome for two years — and underwent two bone marrow transplants — before losing a grueling 105-day battle with COVID-19.
Damian is survived by his wife, Barbara Lopez, sons Phillip Lopez and Todd Stewart, daughter Kelly Pfannenstiel, eight siblings, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, José Luis Lopez Lima and Eucarnacion Melendez Sanchez, and his brother Paco.
Damian Lopez was born on August 20, 1951 in Sidi Ifni - then a Spanish territory and now part of current-day Morocco. Damian, the 8th of 10 children, grew up in Gran Canaria and was a proud Canary Islander and Spaniard.
In 1971 Damian came to the United States and settled in the Kansas City metro area. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September 1978. Damian and Barbara told friends and family many different versions of their meeting in August 1985. The most popular myth is that they met at a grocery store — but the truth is they met at a bar.
Damian later enjoyed telling grandchildren the story of one of their first dates — at Ponak's Mexican Kitchen & Bar — when Barbara literally licked her plate clean. After nearly 8 years together, Damian and Barbara were married on June 4, 1993 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. They were inseparable from that point forward. Whether crossing the Atlantic by cruise ship or taking a 300-mile pilgrimage walk on the Camino de Santiago, they were always together. Damian and Barbara weren't just spouses, they were best friends. Damian loved people and people loved Damian.
He'd make friends on his mail route, at the gym, walking the dog and everywhere he went in life. He loved meeting new people and could —and would — strike up a conversation with almost anybody.
He wore his fandom for Spanish soccer, Kansas State sports and the Kansas City Chiefs on his chest. To the endless amusement of his family, the better his teams were, the less Damian could bear to watch the games. Overflowing with nervous energy and superstition, he would pace the house awaiting a telltale nod from Barbara letting him know that things were going well and it was OK for him to watch.
Tortured by these seemingly cursed sports teams for most of his life, Damian's fandom was eventually rewarded with Spain's 2010 World Cup win and the Chiefs' win in Super Bowl LIV. Both of those championships ended with Damian jumping up and down like a 9-year-old on Christmas.
It's likely that inner child that ignited two of the most treasured relationships in Damian's life — those with grandchildren Ava and Gage. When Damian was with them, it wasn’t babysitting, it was an adventure. “Grandpa Lopey" was playing instruments, singing songs, watching movies, playing games and was right in the middle of whatever they wanted to do. He was game for anything. It usually came down to who would wear out first — a battle Damian never lost. Wherever Damian went, love and laughter followed. A letter that 11-year-old Gage wrote to his "Grandpa Lopey" in the final days says it best. "You served your purpose here by making our family a better place and you have been chosen to go up and make the heavens a better place." -
A funeral mass for Damian Lopez will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021 at St. Paul's Catholic Church 21650 West 115th Terrace in Olathe, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- Jose Luis Lopez Lima, Father (deceased)
- Encarnacion Melendez Sanchez, Mother (deceased)
- Barbara Ann (Cooper) Lopez, Wife
- Phillip Lopez, Son
- Todd Stewart, Son
- Kelly Pfannenstiel, Daughter
- Paco Lopez, Brother (deceased)
- Damian is survived by eight siblings, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Pl, Memphis, Tennessee 38105
Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, April 9, 2021
Inurnment Committal Service
Friday, April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021
You fought bravely and beat the cancer only to have to fight Covid. Rest now Lope.
April 9, 2021
This morning I prepare to attend the service for Damien. There are so many stories I could share but anyone who knows Damien has wonderful stories to share. My heart is so sad for Barbara and all the family. Damien was so full of life, the picture of health for most of his life, had a good heart, was funny beyond words, he loved life. I never believed he wouldn’t be fine, that he would beat his cancer and be back enjoying life. I am sad I did not spend more time with my friends, Damien and Barbara. Damien you will be missed, and you will be remembered.
Vanessa Medina López
April 2, 2021
Querido tío Kuky te escribo desde el corazón, el amor y el cariño que tanto te mereces... allá donde estes tienen suerte de tenerte a su lado... te has ido físicamente, pero nunca de nuestra mente y nuestros corazones. En el cielo brilla otra estrella... mi ángel eres tú... gracias por ser mi tío... y dile a los abuelos y al tío Paco que los quiero mucho...Quiero dar una mención especial a mi tía Bobbi por estar siempre a la altura de las circunstancias, dar tanto amor y ser la mejor compañera de vida, Kuky supo escoger muy bien. Te queremos mucho y te doy mil gracias por haberlo cuidado tan bien. Gracias a toda la familia americana por amarlo, la felicidad se irradiaba en su cara. Os queremos.
Luz Estrella Santana Sandoval
March 20, 2021
Kuki, dejaste una ruta en este mundo lleno de amor y risas. Quien te conoció jamás te podrá olvidar, estarás viviendo siempre en el corazón de tu amada Bobby, de tu familia americana y española "canaria". Seguro como bien dices tu nieto, al llegar al cielo lo has convertido en un lugar mucho mejor.
No fue en vano tu lucha, de todo se aprende y la lección es que eres un gran luchador y que no te rendiste.
Todo nuestro amor para ti Bobby.
Un fuerte abrazo para toda la familia.
Estarás en mis oraciones 🙏. Vuela muy alto y descansa en paz.
March 13, 2021
I miss you so much, Lopey. I feel so lucky to have had you as part of my life for so long. You will never, ever be forgotten.
March 13, 2021
God speed "Lopay".