ORANGE GROVE - Saying good-bye to a loved one is always a difficult task. On Wednesday, family, friends and a community said their last good-byes to Ricardo Lopez, the Orange Grove City Administrator.

Lopez, 55, suffered a fatal heart attack and passed away on Friday, Sept. 28, in Corpus Christi.

He had been employed with the City of Orange Grove since 2007 and was born and raised in the small town.

Lopez was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be dearly missed.

Orange Grove Independent School District Trustee Seale Brand knew Lopez since he was a child. Lopez went to school with Brand's oldest daughter. Brand was the elementary principal when Lopez was graduating high school. Brand has served as City Council member, the mayor and judge.

“I knew him as a student...,” Brand said. He did an outstanding job. We have a new city hall with his leadership. We've done a lot of other things under his leadership. He's going to be dearly missed.”

He leaves behind his wife Mari Lopez, children and grandchildren to cherish his memory. He enjoyed barbecues with family and friends and being outdoors, especially hunting. Spending time with his boys as they were growing up was his greatest pleasure; from watching them during their activities to coaching.

“In fact, what really made him an outstanding city (administrator) was that he bled black and orange. He had roots in the community,” Brand stated. “We will not find someone who has his whole heart and soul in the community. He was one of my best friends even though there was an age difference.”

“They'll replace him, but they really won't replace him.”