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Richard Lopez

Obituary of Richard F. Lopez

Richard F. Lopez passed away peacefully at his home in Southampton on June 21, 2020. He had outlived a typical trajectory for glioblastoma by several fulfilling years, but then again nothing he ever did was particularly typical. A remarkable force of life and energy, Dick Lopez will be remembered for many talents. A titan of the ad world in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, he was a creative director admired for his vision and distinct design sense. He was the driving force behind well-known campaigns for Cutty Sark, Hertz, Johnny Walker Black, Pioneer Electronics and Revlon, among others, inspiring colleagues and clients with award-winning work at agencies including Smith Greenland, Saatchi & Saatchi Compton, Scali McCabe Sloves, Bozell, and Young & Rubicam. The crisp look of his iconic and celebrated PSA campaign––I quit school when I were 16––is as fresh today as it was in 1964. In the later stages of his career, Dick practiced his craft under his own banner, Dick Lopez Design, focusing on smaller campaigns for clients such as the French Culinary Institute and branding for businesses near and dear to him, including Triangle Tennis Club in Southampton and Buckskill Tennis Club in East Hampton. For several decades he devoted his time and skills to design work for Eglise St. Jean Baptiste, an important part of his own life as a spiritual home, the site of his wedding in 1973 to Barbara O’Dwyer, the baptism of his son and granddaughters, as well as their First Communions. A 2001 book on the church’s restoration and history, on which he collaborated with his wife and Pastor John Kamas, is a showcase of the art and beauty of the national landmark. Though technically only an amateur musician, Dick’s musical talent, knowledge and vast range were the backdrop for his entire life. He fell in love with the classical guitar as a teenager growing up in Brooklyn and became an avid student of the instrument. He gave a culminating recital at The Cooperage in Nantucket in 1963 that remained one of his proudest accomplishments. In the 1970s he found his way into the folk music scene, picking up the steel-string guitar, writing and recording original songs (cutting by hand on his home 8-track). He was able to bring these skills into his professional life, writing jingles for Eastern Airlines, among others. In the late 70s he directed and played guitar in a weekly folk mass at St. Jean’s, and served as music director for a full production of the musical, Mame. Ultimately it was his love of jazz and classical music that endured. The genre that captured his attention as a young man brought him full circle as he turned to composing music for piano in the romantic style in his later years, publishing an album of his work in 2002 and continuing to write until the final year of his life. Dick Lopez was always happiest in motion––driving, skiing, biking, roller-blading, photographing, learning, painting, sketching or creating. In 1965 he purchased a burgundy red Morgan sports car directly from the factory in England. He spent several weeks driving it around Great Britain before having it shipped home to New York where it ultimately took up permanent residence at his home in Southampton. He sent himself to racing school and spent countless happy hours zipping “Morgie” around the old Bridgehampton racetrack, and in recent years––somewhat more conservatively but with no less enthusiasm––roaring over the Ponquogue Bridge to Cor-J’s for fresh seafood. When later in life he turned his energy to more serious pursuit of photography (a craft learned from his father, Vincent Lopez, a press photographer and pioneer of New York City nightscapes), Dick Lopez determined he needed a custom vehicle for his endeavors. He designed and had fabricated a “photocycle,” an unusual bike with creative attachments for carrying his gear. Through the lens of his camera, Dick indulged his love of nature, capturing scenes around Southampton, the North Fork, and Central Park. Though a visual artist first and always, no one appreciated a well-crafted piece of writing more than Dick Lopez––it was rare for him to have fewer than three books in progress at any given time. His fascination with words inspired him in his younger years to build a deck of flashcards containing hundreds of English’s most vibrant offerings. His vocabulary was something of a hallmark and often on full display in his letters or notes of love and support to friends and family far and wide, which he wrote generously and often. If Dick Lopez was your fan, no one was a bigger fan. A perfectionist and a deceptively disguised optimist––you had to really know him to understand that truth––Dick Lopez was a genuine one-of-a-kind. Dick is survived by the greatest love of his life, his wife of 47 years, Barbara, his son Damon and daughter-in-law Kendra, his two granddaughters, Evelyn and Nina, his brother Robert and sister-in-law Glenda, many cousins and other family, and dear old friends and colleagues (often one and the same). He is also survived by his classical guitars, his 1965 Morgan, a renowned collection of vintage art supplies, his appreciation for a flawlessly-played pun and perfectly kerned typography in just the right font. The Lord now has a great character on His hands. Richard Lopez will be truly missed, but his legacy will be felt and cherished forever. __ A private internment will take place on June 24, 2020, in Southampton and a memorial celebration will be scheduled when it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, donations in Richard’s name can be made to: Northwell Health Foundation (Dr. John Boockvar’s fund for research on glioblastoma): https://support.northwell.edu/braintumor Eglise Jean Baptiste Church, NYC: http://www.sjbny.org/donate/
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Private Interment

Sacred Hearts Cemetery
Co. Road 39
Southampton, New York, United States