Mary Margaret Lopez, of Morgantown, died May 1, 2018, at the age of 95.
She was born in Cenadi, Calabria, Italy, the daughter of Vito and Elizabeth Fulciniti.
Margaret came to the United States at the age of 7, landing on Ellis Island on Nov. 23, 1929, with her sister, Clotilda, and her mother after a weeklong journey from Calabria, Italy. Margaret loved people, especially children, as evidenced by her countless friends. This was reflected in every aspect of her life, including her career at West Virginia University and her many friends and family. Margaret’s ambition in life was to help people. She was a great storyteller, and those who knew her relished to tell stories about her.
Margaret retired from West Virginia University, in 2011, after a 59-year career. To date she holds the record as the longest- serving and oldest state employee. Her first job at WVU was as a secretary in the registrar’s office, where she met a football player, Russell Lopez, who would become her husband. After marrying and raising three children, Margaret started taking classes at WVU at the age of 42, earning an undergraduate degree in human resources and education, in 1967, and a masters degree in human resources in 1970. She worked as an advisor in the College of Human Resources for over 40 years, while also serving as an instructor of typing and Italian at the Monongalia County Technical Education Center. In her career, she taught more than 16,000 students. In her post-retirement years, her love of teaching spread to Panera, where you would find Margaret holding court during breakfast teaching Italian, complete with handouts to a cross-section of eager students.
Of her many accomplishments, the one that provided her with the most happiness and satisfaction was her family and the memories that she and Russell created with their children and six grandchildren.
Margaret is survived by her daughter, Tina; six grandchildren, Christian, Fritz, Marissa, Christina, Sam and Ulrike; and two great-grandchildren, Giuliana and Samuel Joseph.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell; and two children, Rebecca and Samuel.
If you would like to honor Margaret’s life, flowers are welcome at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation Center, 1379 Van Voorhis Road, Morgantown, WV 26505.
The family will receive visitors to celebrate Margaret’s life at Gene’s Beer Garden, 461 Wilson Ave., Morgantown, from 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 4.
Hastings Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.