Home Madison Juan Jose Lopez, stalwart of Madison Latino community, dies at 64

Juan Jose Lopez, stalwart of Madison Latino community, dies at 64

Juan Jose Lopez speaks at the announcement of the Dane County COVID Relief Fund, March 14, 2020. Photo by Madeline Chappell.

Juan Jose Lopez, a longtime leader of Madison’s Latino community, has died, an associate confirmed Tuesday. He was 64.

A cause of death was not immediately made public. Social media posts indicate Lopez had fallen ill in recent days.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Lopez came to Madison to earn a degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin.

Julia Arata-Fratta with Juan Jose Lopez at In Business Magazine’s Most Influential People

He was the first Latino to serve on the Madison school board, serving 12 years from 1994 – 2006. He was also a cofounder of the Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison, and served on the board of the United Migrant Opportunity Services in Milwaukee, Nuestro Mundo School in Madison, One City Schools, Rotary Foundation and the Latino Chamber of Commerce.

UMOS President and CEO Lupe Martinez (far right) with State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa and Juan Jose Lopez

Professionally, Lopez served as executive director of Briarpatch Youth Services and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, and later as a section chief at the state Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Employment & Training. He retired from state service in 2019.

A celebration of lilfe will be held at Gunderson Funeral Home in Fitchburg, on Saturday, June 10 from 3-6 pm. Lopez will ultimately be laid to rest in San Antonio. The Latino Chamber of Commerce has established a scholarship fund in Lopez’s honor.