Johnny Eugene Lopes October 7, 1937-October 14, 2020
John Lopes was born October 7, 1937 to Manuel & Marie Lopes in Gustine, California. He grew up on the family’s dairy, learning all aspects of the dairy business while working with his 7 older siblings. He attended Gustine High School, where he was involved in FFA and played football.
After graduating from Gustine High School 1956, John enlisted in the Army where he enjoyed travel and adventure during peacetime. He was stationed in Germany for a while, and drove tanks. There’s a surprising picture of John on snow skis in Switzerland; apparently taking place during one of his leaves!
When John returned home from the Army in 1958, he took a few classes at Modesto Junior College. John was fortunate to work for a local veterinarian part time, learning skills he would use caring for livestock throughout his lifetime. With the help of his parents, John started his own dairy in Merced. He owned and operated the dairy for approximately 20 years before getting out of the dairy business.
After selling the dairy, John met Gloria Small at a cutting in 1985. She lived in Oregon, and John soon found himself driving north on a regular basis to visit. John and Gloria married on November 8, 1986. Together, they ran beef cattle on her ranch where John’s love of cattle was constant; he quickly embraced the change from dairyman to cattle rancher. John made Oregon his home for approximately 35 years.
The one constant in John’s life was his passion for horses. As a young kid, his favorite time of day was when the work horses were coming in from the fields. With his older brother’s permission, John would sometimes be able to jump on their backs and ride them to the barn. Once he started his own dairy, he was able to buy his first horse. He brought it home, saddled it up, and began using the horse to bring in the cows to the milk barn in the winter. A few months later, when a veterinarian was checking cows, the vet took a look at the horse and informed John that the little horse wasn’t quite 2 years old and was still a stallion! The horse was gelded, given a little time off, and then went right back to work!
Just a few years later, John purchased a stud horse and trained him for the sport of cutting. Only having trained a few horses before; John and his stud, Tripolay Chic, were a force to be reckoned with in the cutting pen. The duo won the 1976 Cutting Horse Maturity, and went on to win many more titles after that. John’s career as a non-pro cutting horse trainer was long and full of successes. John was fortunate to ride and show many good horses; some which he and Gloria bred, raised, and trained on the Glory Hill Ranch where they resided outside of Junction City. One of their favorite horses was Little Peppys Remedy; John won the 1994 Non Pro Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Futurity. The little horse was all heart and a ton of talent. John won various championships on this horse and many others throughout his cutting career.
John is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria Lopes; brothers Manuel (Hazel), Tony, and Joe Lopes; and sisters Mary (Floyd) Amarant, Vera (Joe) Trinidad, and Diolinda (Nelson) Gomes, and Step-Daughter, Jayne Scaltero.
John is survived by his two children (from first marriage), son John Lopes, Jr., and daughter Karen Lopes; his sister Palmira Treshler; Sister In-Laws Rosalene (Joe) Lopes and Lenna (Tony) Lopes; step-children Norman E. Small, (Virginia), Lori Albright ( Charles), Sue Babbitt (Andy), 8 step-grandchildren, and 14 step-great-grandchildren.
John was living in Merced at Pacifica Senior Living’s Memory Care under Hospice. The family wants to thank all of the staff at Pacifica and Bristol Hospice for the wonderful love and outstanding care John received for these last 10 months. John was so very blessed to have been loved throughout his 83 years by so many wonderful family and friends.
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