CWO3 (Ret) Frank R. Lopes, Sr. of Fayetteville passed away Thursday, May 7th, 2020, at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. This beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend will be greatly missed. The far-reaching and profound impact Frank had on the lives he touched belies the quiet humility with which he served God, his family, his country and community throughout his adult life. Of all of his personal and professional accomplishments, Frank would have said he was proudest of his family that he raised with his beloved bride, Virginia Lopes, whom he lost in 2008 to cancer after 50 years of marriage and is now reunited with him in heaven with our Lord and Savior.
Frank enlisted in the Army’s 82d Airborne Infantry Division, entering active duty service in January 1951. Frank served 3 tours in Vietnam and also served on assignments in Okinawa, Germany, and Panama. Working early in his career as a medical platoon sergeant with the 307th Medical Bn, 82d Abn Div, Frank was selected for and completed training to serve with the 5th Special Forces Group. He retired from active duty service in July 1977, having earned numerous medals over the course of his career. Frank was a professional and dedicated soldier who never spoke of his career accomplishments but his military record speaks volumes regarding his distinguished service to his country. He inspired several of his grandsons to follow his example of proud military service.
Frank enjoyed a second career as an educator and counselor with the Cumberland County School system, teaching and coaching at Cape Fear High School, leading the baseball team to a championship, and serving as counselor at Anne Chesnutt Junior High until his retirement in 1996. He had a no-nonsense approach with his students and athletes and they loved him for it. Long after his students had moved on with their lives, many would return and tell Frank how much his influence had shaped their decisions and lives. His students respected and trusted him, as did his colleagues. Frank developed many close friendships with colleagues over the years, many of which he outlived in his 89 years.
Frank was deeply devoted to family and relished the time he was able to spend with his family, as well as with cherished friends. He loved to travel and was an avid reader, a history buff and an incurable baseball fanatic. He played softball well into his 70’s and loved attending major league baseball games with his family, especially his grandchildren. One of his favorite places to visit was the Amish Country in Pennsylvania where he had close friends. Fiercely independent, he remained active in his beloved church until health issues prevented him from attending services in the final months of life. His deepest wish was that his life would be an example to others of Christ’s love and service and that his children and grandchildren would live out the values he embraced so strongly. He loved animals and was inseparable from his beloved pooch, Tippy, who will be well cared for in Frank’s absence by family members.
Frank Lopes was preceded in death by his wife Virginia, son Kenneth Lopes and grandson Justin Lopes.
He is also preceded in death by his sisters, Margarita DaRosa; Flora Fernandes; Marie Torres; Lucy Lopes; Alice Mendes; Marion Colon; and Beatrice Martin, all formerly of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
He is survived by his son Frank R. (“Ricky”) Lopes, Jr., and spouse Donna of Fayetteville; daughter Alicia (“Lisa”) Lopes Chinlund and spouse Charles Asbornsen of Sneads Ferry, NC; and daughter Rose Villegas of Fayetteville. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Rebecca Aul and spouse Sean of Fayetteville; Emily Townsend and spouse Alex of Fayetteville; Gabriel Villegas of TX; Andrew Chinlund and spouse Whitney of Shreveport, LA; Caroline and Garrett Villegas of Fayetteville; Nicole Shank and spouse Jason of Edwards, CA; Adam Chinlund of Ruston, LA; and Connor Asbornsen of Sneads Ferry, NC. He is also survived by 5 great-grandchildren: Trip Chinlund; Beckett Shank; Holt Aul; Daniel Aul; and Eleanor Townsend.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, for the protection of our friends and family, a private family service will be held May 13 at Arran Lake Baptist Church followed by a graveside service at Cumberland Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville. The funeral service will be live-streamed at 12:00 for those wishing to view the service online on the Arran Lake Baptist Church web page, b3.churchonline.org When it becomes safe to do so, the family hopes to have a memorial service with military honors to honor Frank Lopes and to celebrate his life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Frank R. Lopes, Sr. Memorial Scholarship, c/o Cumberland Community Foundation, P. O. Box 2345, Fayetteville, NC 28302 or online at www.cumberlandcf.org
Online condolences may be sent to http://www.jerniganwarren.com
Services entrusted to Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home, 545 Ramsey St., Fayetteville, NC 28301
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Cumberland Community Foundation
P.O Box 2345, Fayetteville NC 28302