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* Sal Lopez; Oxnard Restaurant Owner

November 29, 2000

Sal Lopez, owner of Sal's Mexican Inn in Oxnard, died Friday at St. John's Regional Medical Center of heart complications. He was 75.

Born Dec. 19, 1924, in Victoria, Texas, he moved to Los Angeles and then to Oxnard in 1948. That year, he and his wife, Mary, opened a nine-stool restaurant at 6th Street and Oxnard Boulevard.

About four years later, he purchased property owned by the Otani family at 1450 S. Oxnard Blvd., the present restaurant location. The eatery was built with a personal loan from the Otani family.

Lopez was well-known for greeting his customers with a big smile. For 52 years, he had received many commendations and honors. His business philosophy was "good food, good prices and good service," and his belief that he needed to be at the restaurant, he was quoted as saying.

His son Edward, who had worked at the restaurant while growing up, said customers became his father's friends and family. The younger Lopez moved about a year ago from Oregon to help at the restaurant after his father's heart attack and plans to keep the restaurant open.

Sal Lopez was also active in the community, sponsoring numerous youth groups and civic organizations. He was active in the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Elks Lodge and Oxnard Eagles Lodge. He was a pioneer and founder of the Oxnard Businessman's Assn., Latin American Businessman's Assn. and Oxnard Sister City program.

In addition to his wife of 55 years and son Edward, he is survived by son Sal Jr. of Virginia; daughters Linda of Colorado and Leticia of Camarillo; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today at the James A. Reardon Mortuary, Oxnard. The rosary will be recited at 7 tonight at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church on Las Posas Road, Camarillo.

Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary Magdalen with burial following at Santa Clara Cemetery.

A luncheon reception will be held at the Oxnard Elks Lodge, 801 South A St., after the services Thursday.

Sal's Mexican Inn will be closed Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Sal Lopez Memorial Fund, c/o St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, 2530 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010.

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