Connie Olavarri Lopes

Connie Olavarri Lopes

Connie Olavarri Lopes, a selfless, compassionate woman who always found the good in everybody and lived her life to the fullest, died Tuesday, August 24th, at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Jose. She was 89.

Born in Los Gatos in 1920, the daughter of Basque immigrants Felipe and Engracia, she attended Fremont High School and afterwards enrolled in nursing school.

In 1949 Connie married Leland Lopes and the couple had three children: Carol, Diane and Nancy.

She was a Keypunch Operator at IBM, a Real Estate agent and a teacher’s assistant, but Connie also volunteered her time to give rides to the handicapped, help in local hospitals and was a Girl Scout leader.

She and her husband also took in numerous exchange students from all parts of the world and a highlight of her life was in 1997 when she traveled to the Basque country in Spain and met some of the distant relatives she had always heard about.

As a grandmother, Connie regularly hosted moonlight campouts out on the deck in her Milpitas home and loved to play the “hide the dice” game for hours on end with her grandchildren. At Christmas, the highlight of family gatherings was her white elephant gift exchanges.

During the past two years, Connie lived with her daughter Carol in Gilroy.

Connie had a calming presence and never took herself too seriously. She was also very curious, always finding something interesting and in each and every person she came across.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Leland. She is survived by her daughter Carol and husband Michael, her daughter Diane and husband Frank and her daughter Nancy and husband Skip. She also leaves behind five grandchildren, Gordon, Andrew, Chelsie, Andrea and Kyle. She is also survived by her brothers Mike and Phil and numerous nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made to the National Wildlife Federation, the American Cancer Society and the National Kidney Foundation.

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