Luis Reyes López, age 89, was called to be with his Dios and his consentida, Carmen, on April 27, 2021. Luis was born in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico on June 22, 1931 to Dolores and Luis López. His formative years imprinted in his DNA a “jack of all trades” and entrepreneurial spirit. He learned the auto mechanic trade under the tutelage of his father who owned a taller in Morelia. At the age of 17, with the blessings of his mother, he made a courageous decision to come to the United States to begin building a better life for himself and his future family. Arriving in San Antonio, he was welcomed by relatives-the Escamilla and Lara families. He enjoyed sharing memories of his part-time jobs at Mi Tierra, Olmos Pharmacy, and as a landscaper, but wanting to excel, he learned English taking evening classes at a San Antonio high school.
On one of his trips to visit his family in Morelia, he met the woman whose portrait years earlier first captivated him when he saw it on a display window at a photographer’s studio. Their love story began with a serendipitous encounter while fueling his vehicle at a gas station at the same time Carmen, now a pharmacist, was with her family en route to a popular natural spring-fed swimming pool in Zinapecuaro. He made a split-second decision to follow the car with the hope he would learn her name.
Handsome, attentive and jovial Luis tapped his emotional intelligence to win the heart of the beautiful and intelligent Carmen, by gaining her mother as an ally and champion. The couple married on February 9, 1957, and after their honeymoon, departed to San Antonio to start their married life. Luis supplemented his salary from his mechanical position at Borden’s Dairy Products with after-hours free-lancing at mechanic shops along Broadway Avenue.
In the summer of 1960, Luis skills as a mechanic and strong work ethic had not gone unnoticed, and he was offered a mechanic position at Gene Brown Transmission in Corpus Christi. With Carmen’s support, they packed and moved with their three daughters to Corpus Christi. Five years later, a property on Agnes St became available, and ambitious Luis, saw the opportunity to own his own mechanic shop. For the next 56 years, the maestro kept his Center Automatic Transmission & Motor Exchange, staying mentally sharp repairing motors and transmissions, mentoring younger mechanics, and assisting customers near and far.
The Maestro was an avid hunter and enjoyed spending time with compadres and friends at their South Texas ranches. Patient Luis reveled in teaching those unfamiliar with the outdoor sport and marksmanship.
Luis captured the family memories, well-known for being the man behind the lens recording and photographing recitals, weddings, parties, and the many places they visited on trips to Mexico, Europe, Central and South America.
El Maestro will forever be remembered by those who called him Piz, Luiche, Daddy, Lito, Don Luis, Compadre, and Mr. López.
Luis was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Alfonso Lopez and his daughter, Kathy; and son-in-law, William T. Smith. Jr.
Left to honor his memory and continue his legacy are his three daughters, Jovita López Smith, Lourdes López Storey and her husband Milton, Linda López-George and her husband Aubrey, Gabriella and Matthew Storey (fiancée Diana Chimnaz), Carolyn and Nathaniel George (Gabriela Mota-George).
He is also survived by his sister, Rosaura Mercado; sister-in-law, Maria Teresa Ruiz Machorro; brother-in-law, Alberto Ruiz Cedeno, and numerous nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
Pallbearers honoring Luis will be: Aubrey George, Nathaniel George, Milton Storey, Matthew Storey, Richard Hill, Israel Flores, Frank Mejia and Edward Aguirre. Honorary pallbearers will be Ray Curiel and Albert Gomez.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. with a Rosary commencing at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, 2021 at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. at Corpus Christi Cathedral with Interment to follow at Seaside Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, if you wish to honor Luis’ memory, please consider a gift to the Mays Cancer Center Research Program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Contributions may be mailed to UT Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, Mail Code 7835, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900 or online https://makelivesbetter.uthscsa.edu or the charity of your choice.
The family extends their gratitude to his oncology team at the Mays Cancer Center and sincere appreciation for the responsiveness and compassionate care provided by AADI Home Health & Hospice in his final day before God summoned his special lamb to heaven.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 5/7/2021 at 06:25 PM, Central Standard Time.
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