Napoleon Jess Lopez

Oct 15, 1929 - Jul 24, 2019


Napoleon Jess Lopez soared to new horizons on 24 July 2019. Born 15 October 1929, he was the 3rd of 12 children born to a farming family, near Fresno, CA.
Despite overwhelming odds, he earned his private pilot’s license in 1947, later becoming a pilot in the USAF, beginning his military career flying P-51 Mustangs in the Korean War.
He epitomized the qualities of hard work, pursuit of education (receiving his M.E. from UC Berkeley in 1978) and service to his state and nation.
A 20 year military veteran, he later owned a restaurant in St. Helena, worked for the U.S. government in San Francisco and Ft. Ord, CA, served as Director of Marketing for the State of California, was employed by the U.S. Parks system, and finally at American River College.
Affectionately called Jess by his family, Napoleon was the proud father of Carlos, Lydia, Caroline, Ernest and Brenda and was the loving husband of Sue, all who will miss his vital presence. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and family in Fresno and AK.
He was an accomplished cook & chef, having also obtained a culinary degree from Cornell University in 1984.
He inspired his children and many others, to pursue higher education, embrace the joy of cooking, the value of strong work ethics and love of family.
Through the years, he volunteered as a pilot for several charities and was active in political endeavors, organizing and leading the first national Mexican-American Political Association convention in Sacramento.
Napoleon will rest in the National Veterans Cemetery in Dixon, CA.
A memorial service will be at Sacramento Valley Cemetery on 6 August 2019 @ 12:00 PM.


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