Maria Lopez, a star in the social work department for 12 years, died on Jan. 21. A single mom of one daughter, Andrea, and grandmother to Sylvia, Elijah, and David, Maria was the "eternal optimist." She was looking forward to seeing her granddaughter off to college. She joined the department in 2006 as social work support staff after working for several years at the Minnesota Aids Project.

Maria was deeply passionate about the missions of Metropolitan State University and the Social Work Program. Even as she struggled with many health challenges and setbacks, she looked forward to coming back to work. She loved working with the students from their first contact inquiring about the admission process to their graduation celebration. A consummate helper, she excelled in planning and organizing the administrative work of the department. Maria was cheery, smart, very helpful and always prepared! Donna Colburn remembers that she stood out among the applicants for the social work support staff position, impressing the committee as a self-directed self-starter and just what the social work department needed. Those very qualities supported the department as it faced changes in faculty, university restructuring and accreditation expectations. Maria was committed to living out the social work department's mission to educate culturally competent social workers.

Metropolitan State and the social work department are better because Maria chose to travel with us. Here are the details for Maria Lopez arrangements.

Her obituary can be found on

4 to 8 PM, Friday, Feb. 2

Klecatsky & Sons West Chapel
1051 South Robert Street
West Saint Paul

Visitation and Funeral

9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m.

Church of St. Mary
261 East 8th Street
Saint Paul