On the evening of December 14, Southwestern College lost one of its most visible icons. Philip Lopez, English professor and longtime union crusader, died of a sudden, massive heart attack minutes after being admitted to Sharp Hospital in Chula Vista. It was the day before his 65th birthday.
By all accounts his death was unexpected. He had spent the afternoon in what were described as successful negotiations between the faculty union and the college administration.
Kathleen Canney Lopez, professor of computer information systems who describes herself as “Phil’s former wife and his comrade,” said Lopez sat down at his Chula Vista home with a stack of paperwork. Feeling chest pains, he took aspirin and called 911. It took only minutes for the paramedics to arrive. He was rushed into the hospital and died there less than two minutes later.
“It was quick,” Canney Lopez said. “It was painless.”