Obituary: Don Prudencio Lopez

Don Prudencio Lopez passed away August 23rd 2008 after a long bout of illness.

Don Prudencio Lopez

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of welding either as an beginner, artisan or expert, you know its more an art than a science to manipulate the rod and puddle just right, to not burn through the metal, to create that perfect bead that will hold strength. Don Prudencio Lopez was a master craftsman who as Pete would say enviously, “made some beautiful welds”.

We first met Don Prudencio in fall 2005 when we came to Guatemala to launch XelaTeco. At 72, he was teaching young students metalwork at Escuela Taller Agaton Boj in Quetzaltenango and was the primary mentor for Candido Morales, who later became the youngest member of XelaTeco at 16.

Over the years that followed, his handiwork was evident in the improved stoves that are helping keep smoke from families homes’, the micro-hydro system penstock and turbines that are providing electricity to Neuva Alianza, and in much of metalwork that XelaTeco has done since its inception. It lives on is the work of his previous apprentice, Candido.

Over the past year, Don Prudencio had been forced to slow things down. He had been struggling with heart disease. Despite an operation last year and a good long fight, he succombed to illness and died last month. He is survived by his 16 year old daughter, Delmy. He will be missed.

Don Prudencio, letting sparks fly.
Don Prudencio, letting sparks fly.

Don Prudencio with Candido Morales working on the Pelton turbine casing.
Don Prudencio with Candido Morales working on the Pelton turbine casing.

Don Pru and the  hydro system  manifold.
Don Pru and the hydro system manifold. Photo by Lisa Silberstein

Building a rocket box
Building a rocket box

DP and Benny Lee
DP and Benny Lee

Candido, Adriana, DP, and Natalia.
Candido, Adriana, DP, and Natalia.