Louise Lopez Sanchez was born on June 6, 1919, in Carpinteria. This year, as she celebrates her 100th birthday, Sanchez said she’s “thinking back on what she’s accomplished.”
Sanchez went to school in Carpinteria and attended church in a little house on Ash Street. She received first communion at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Barbara from the Carpinteria parish. After graduating high school, she met Dan Sanchez, and the two were married in their church, St. Joseph Chapel, on 7th Street on June 18, 1939. They loved to travel and visited Europe and most of the United States. When asked for a favorite memory from life in Carpinteria as a young woman, she recalled walking to the theater at night.
Religion has played a very big part in Sanchez’ life, and many Carpinterians will know her best as “Weesie,” a lifelong volunteer and parishioner at St. Joseph Church. She and her husband helped build the St. Joseph Catholic Church on Linden in the 1960s. The couple hosted the church’s first annual festival in the driveway of their beach property in 1955. For years, Sanchez made food for the festival, along with other ladies from the parish.
For Sanchez, her greatest achievement was starting St. Joseph’s Resale Shop, she said, which began as a rummage sale on 7th Street where Chapel Court is today. Together with other women from church, Sanchez worked to grow the rummage sale, later moving it into the expanded space in the church parking lot on El Carro Street. This go-to source for needed household items and gently used clothes, games and beyond continues to serve the community and raise funds for the parish. St. Joseph Fr. Dick Martini affectionately called the Resale Shop, the “Macys of Carpinteria.”
Sanchez is part of a large and extended family of six generations of Carpinterians. While she never had children, she was a sister, aunt, great-aunt, cousin and friend to many. Her goddaughter Mary DeAlba Cota remembers fondly how “she treated us like her children… she was always at every event supporting me and my brothers and sisters.” Cota said Sanchez was a good person her whole life and continues to be smart and gracious. She reads her Coastal View News every week and asks Cota for any new gossip in town.
Longtime family friend Susana Green noted Sanchez’ old-fashioned kindness, “always offering you something to eat when you visit her house; she is very giving.” Green recalled that when she was growing up, her sister had special needs, and while many adults and children would ignore her, Sanchez always talked to her and included her in activities, often asking her to help her with projects. “She was always very kind to my sister,” said Green.
Sanchez said she believes she owes her longevity to “living a clean life” and, of course, to her faith.
Friends and family will gather with Sanchez to celebrate her birthday at Villa Alamar Memory Care in Santa Barbara, where she currently resides.