A community remembers who Walter Garcia-Lopez truly was

Posted at 6:01 PM, Oct 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 18:01:09-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A community is mourning a man who left a lasting impression on many hearts after his recently identified body was found near the Fred Meijer M-6 Trail.

Loved ones said Lopez battled alcoholism, but phrases like, “caring soul,” “great guy,” “you could call him up in a pinch,” are just some of the kind words people had for him.

“He loved his daughter a lot,” said Kurt Orosz, a friend. “I believe he was driven by his daughter Maria. He got very serious when his daughter was born. I think that was a turning point for him to even work harder and try to provide.”

Those who knew Lopez said he worked hard for his younger daughter, Maria.

Consuello Peevy, Maria's mother, shared pictures with FOX 17, including one of Maria and Lopez. Maria wrote her last words to her father, “I love u Daddy.”

“[Lopez] wasn’t homeless," Peevy said. "He was my love and my child’s father. He worked and had his own house. He helped with our daughter. He’d never go a week without seeing her.”

Everyone who knew Lopez said he was a hard worker, a talented roofer helping anyone at a moment’s notice.

“We called Walter up on a Sunday. He was getting ready to go to church, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, okay, I can do that,’” said Eric Marcellus, owner of Cherry Hill Market. “So Walter came, he went and fixed the valley in the roof real quick. You know, like I said, he’d always help out, always. And he was always friendly, always in a good mood.”

“One of the nicest people you could talk to,” said Kyle Fisher, who works at Cherry Hill Market.

Lopez was a regular at the Cherry Hill Market, where employees and customers have only kind stories to share.

“He was a caring soul, he was a good soul, he was a great guy,” Marcellus said.

The loss of Lopez is affecting an entire community.

“This man, who had trouble with housing, would spend an extra couple dollars to bring flowers to people; just shows you something about the human being that we lost,” said Mike Saunders, a friend of Lopez.

Loved ones now ask Lopez to be remembered as who is truly was. “I would like him to be remembered as a great, hardworking man, and a good father he really was,” said Orosz.

Peevy shared the GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.

Family members organized a memorial service for Lopez Sunday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. to be held at St. Francis Xavier Church, located at 250 Brown St. SE in Grand Rapids. There will be a luncheon and gathering for friends following the service.