Azusa

Gilbert Lopez


By Ismael Martinez

Gilbert Lopez was born Sept. 30, 1919, in Azusa, northeast of Los Angeles. His father, Victorio Jose Lopez, worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a stonemason. Lopez' mother, Dephene Lopez, was a homemaker, raising the couple's eight children.

During the Depression years, Lopez remembers growing up in poverty and attending Irwindale School without shoes. As a small boy, official segregation forced Latinos to sit in separate sections of public buildings, such as movie theaters.