Henri W. Lopes

Henri W. Lopes, 98, of Providence, Rhode Island, died Friday, June 26, 2020 at the Miriam Hospital. Her daughter was able to spend time at her bedside before her death. Henri was born May 9, 1922 in the then small town of Corsicana, Texas. She was the youngest child of the late Maude Allen and Henry W. White. Henri was married in San Diego, CA, July 28, 1945, to Manuel J. Lopes, who was stationed there during World War II. Manuel and Henri celebrated their 66th anniversary before he passed away in 2011.

Henri attended public schools in Corsicana and graduated as salutatorian from Jackson High School in 1939. She attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and graduated with a degree in sociology in 1943. She moved to San Diego to live with her sister. She initially worked as a riveter in a factory that produced airplanes for the United States’ war effort. Henri was proud of her war work, but left the factory to take a job in her field of social work with the County of San Diego.

When the war ended and Manuel was honorably discharged from the navy, the couple relocated to his hometown of Providence. They started their family and Henri worked a number temporary jobs in the jewelry industry when she was a young mother. Henri’s professional career began in 1959 when she was hired as a social worker by the Providence Redevelopment Agency. She worked in urban renewal, assisting people whose homes were to be demolished, in finding new homes. In 1969, she worked for the U.S. Model Cities Program and became director of the Social Service Center in the South Providence neighborhood. In 1976, Henri was hired as the social worker for the RI School for the Deaf. She later directed the Foster Grandparents Program in Rhode Island for several years before she retired.

Henri is survived by her son Joseph A. Lopes, Esq. of Maryland, and her daughter, Cheryl E. Lopes, Ph.D. of Providence. She was the beloved mother of the late William H. Lopes, Ph.D., and his wife Sandra Gaines Lopes, M.A.; Linda M. Lopes; and the recently deceased Allen D. Lopes. She is also survived by five beloved grandchildren, William M. Lopes, Ph.D., and Mitchell Allen Lopes and his wife Oceana Shawanda, all of Holyoke, Massachusetts; Nathanial Allen Lopes, and his wife Desiree James Lopes, of Charleston, South Carolina; Alexander D. Lopes of Providence; and Rachel S. Lopes, M.P.A., and her mother, Maria D. Lopes, M.P.A., of Maryland. Henri was the adoring great grandmother of Josalyn of Charleston and Ophelia of Holyoke. She was the mother-in-law of Michelle H. Lopes of Providence and sister-in-law of Domingos R. Lopes of East Providence, RI.

Henri was predeceased by all six of her siblings, Allen, Altheron, Alonzo and Tilford White; Theresa W. Pendleton, and Ammon W. Martin; and by several nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. She is survived by her niece Ammon P. Jenkins of Oklahoma, and nephew Allen White of Texas. Her surviving White and Lopes nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and cousins are many, and Henri loved and deeply appreciated them all.

Henri lived a rich life in interesting times. Her childhood was spent in the segregated South in the Roaring 20s and the Depression. WWII broke out when she was in college. She recalled that most of the male students left campus for the military when she was a college junior. Food rationing meant that many of her college dining room dinners featured lettuce salad and beans. Henri often recalled to her family the massive celebration that broke out in San Diego when World War II ended in August, 1945.

In her moves to San Diego and Providence, Henri had to adjust to different environments and cultures. As poll taxes prevented her from ever voting in Texas, she always appreciated her ability to vote in California and Rhode Island, and she never missed voting in city, state and national elections. She believed fervently in education and there was never any question that all her children would attend college and have professional careers. She advanced the value of education to the extended Lopes family and to many other families. Henri was so proud of all her children and she so deeply mourned the three that she lost. She was a loving and devoted parent who worked hard to provide her children with everything they needed and more. Her daughter recalls that she worked closely with Santa Claus and always managed to delight her kids at Christmas with the most desired and sometimes difficult to find toys.

Despite advanced age, Henri was always mentally sharp and discerning. Others could sense her dignity. She could be blunt but she also had a great sense of humor and was extremely kind and generous. She knew that her children would face challenges of bias in their lives and she taught them to be strong and persistent. She was recognized by separate local organizations in 1981 and 1993 as “Mother of the Year.” Her children were so proud of her.

Henri enjoyed playing bridge and solitaire and doing crossword and word search puzzles. She was a wonderful cook and baker and prepared massive holiday meals into her 90s. She enjoyed entertaining and setting a lovely table. She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, and she travelled across the U.S. for her family’s biennial reunions until recent years. Aside from her family, her greatest passion was her beloved Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She pledged DST at Wiley College in 1942 and was a charter member of her Providence Alumnae Chapter. She served many years as an officer and helped to raise thousands of dollars for scholarships for local, often first generation, college students. Her proudest times as a Delta were when she pinned her daughters when they were separately initiated into the sisterhood in 1974 and 1997. Henri is mourned by her beloved sorors.

Henri’s beautiful life will be celebrated at her funeral on Thursday, July 9, at 9:00 a.m. from the Perry-McStay Home, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Holy Rosary Church, 21 Traverse Street, Providence. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence. A DST Omega Omega service will take place at the funeral home at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 8. In lieu of flowers, donations to the DST scholarship fund will be greatly appreciated. Please make checks payable to Providence Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PO Box 40175, Providence, RI 02940.


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11 entries.
Gerald Lopes from pittsburgh wrote on July 9, 2020 at 9:07 am:
Marcia and I would like to express our deepest condolences to Joe, Cheryl, Michelle and the rest of the family as Aunt Henri has gone on to be with the Angels. So many memories but most memorable for me the many hours we spent in the grand parlor at 104 Woodbine St. We so looked forward to visiting from Pittsburgh...catching up on family matters, discussing the pressing issues of the day and without reservation or hesitation sharing our opinions. Often those visits ended with a lovely lunch or dinner prepared by Cheryl. I will miss those wonderful visits and look forward to the day when we meet again in the grand parlor above Lala, Minel, Uncle Lalla and Aunt Henri...yes once again discussing family matters and the pressing issues of the day.....sharing our opinions without reservation or hesitation..just like to old days. Rest in peace Aunt Henri....job well done!
Zee from Providence wrote on July 7, 2020 at 8:28 am:
My deepest sympathies to the Lopes Family. May Henri Rest In Peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Earl & Maureen Lopez from East Providence wrote on July 7, 2020 at 7:25 am:
Aunt Henri. May the angels accept you with open arms. May your soul Rest in eternal peace. Joe and Cheryl, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are sorry that we can’t attend the services due to the fact that we are out of state. Cherish the memories that you have of your time spent with your mother. May the lord receive her and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon her.
Michael and Veronica White from Bakersfield, CA wrote on July 6, 2020 at 11:16 pm:
We send our condolences to the Lopes family. Aunt Henri will always have a special place in our heart.
Joyce Crum from Oakland wrote on July 6, 2020 at 8:09 pm:
Peace be with you dear Soror, rest in your Omega Omega home.TTBOD♥️♥️
Mr.&Mrs. Earl Lopez from East Providence wrote on July 6, 2020 at 5:46 pm:
Aunt Henri, May the angels receive you with open arms. May your soul Rest in Eternal Peace and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon You. Joe and Cheryl we are thinking of you both during this most difficult time. Hold on to the memories of your mother and may we ALL be reunited together in heaven some day. God bless you aunt Henri.
David Miller from The Villages, FL wrote on July 6, 2020 at 3:05 pm:
Dear Joe & The Entire Lopes Family, I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. Even when they get older, it's always so hard to lose them. Although she's surely in Heaven, I'll pray for her, you and the entire Lopes family.
Naomi Jacks Brown from Providence wrote on July 6, 2020 at 1:59 pm:
My sincere condolences and prayers to the Lopes family
Richard Iadevaia from Glendale wrote on July 5, 2020 at 1:36 pm:
Cheryl and the entire Lopes family through my prayers and thoughts I wish you all comfort and sincere condolences during this time. Your Mom, Grandmother, Aunt and or friend was an incredible person that you will all miss but will have wonderful memories of a remarkable woman, be strong and always think of her. Blessed be.... Richard
Dorothy Monteiro-McCollough from Providene wrote on July 5, 2020 at 1:32 pm:
My condolences to the Lopes family. May you continue to have fond memories that will bring you thru this difficult time. Rest in Peace Henri.....
Leslie Lopes-Ruffin from Baltimore wrote on July 5, 2020 at 10:58 am:
Lopes Family, Sending our deepest sympathy to Cheryl and Joe! You are in our thoughts and prayers as you send your Mom home! Asking God to wrap his loving arms around The entire Lopes Family who lost 2 other family members within weeks of each other...our heart aches with you! Although I cannot be with you now know that I'm with you in spirit and love! Aunt Henri was one of my mother's best friend first and a favorite sister-in-law second! Cherishing the memories of our time & talks together until the very end! May she continue to Rest in Peace! Praying for my Lopes Family!