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Home » Cougar Foundation Hall of Fame » 1999 Cougar Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees » Dr. Carl Emil López, Class of ‘70, M.D., Radiologist

Dr. Carl Emil López, Class of ‘70, M.D., Radiologist

Carl Lopez was born in Fort Bragg, NC as his father was in the military at the time. The family moved back to Tucson after about six months where Carl lived until he began medical school. Both of his parents are native Tucsonians. Carl is the oldest of seven children, all of whom graduated from Sahuaro.

Carl began schooling in the parochial school system but switched to Hudlow Elementary in the fourth grade. That change was one of many important changes in his life. Later he went to Fickett Junior High and then to Palo Verde High School. At Palo Verde, they were on double sessions and being an athlete, Carl was on the session opposite of grade school peers. He remembers that those two years at Palo Verde with a fair amount of regret and unhappiness. The lowest he got was when he was cut from the team halfway through the baseball season. He had never been cut from any team, club or group. When he learned that Sahuaro was opening the next school year and his family lived in the new boundaries, he was elated. He worked hard that summer to get ready for the football season so that he would not feel disappointed again.

Carl remembers his first football game like it was yesterday. It was in Bisbee and they all laughed at the opposing team because they all looked like cheap cowboys. Sahuaro got destroyed by that team from a small town and Carl learned yet another valuable lesson. Never underestimate your opponent. The next week they went to Ajo and got destroyed again. These were valuable lessons but it only made Carl work harder. He was Most Valuable Player that year and also Defensive Player of the year. He was also third-team All-City. Because of this, Carl was sure he would be an automatic pick for All-City the next year and probably All-State as well. That did not happen He performed well and for a number of reasons, worked hard but was not rewarded as he thought he would be. Another valuable lesson was learned at that time. Life is not always fair.

Football was very important to Carl at Sahuaro and would have given anything to play on a good team like they have now. Carl also played on the basketball and baseball teams but felt he did not have the impact on those teams that he did with football. Carl states that
he was fortunate to have some outstanding coaches at Sahuaro such as Virgil Stan, Coach Kaiser, Dick McConnell, Hal Eustice and one of his childhood idols Howard Breinig. Carl did not miss U of A football games and he remembers well this tough short guy who did not fear anything. That was Coach Breinig.

Carl always wanted to be that tough. Coach McConnell was a tireless worker who allowed him to practice basketball endlessly. Carl loved basketball and would be last one to leave practice, after which Coach McConnell would give him a ride home. Coach Eustice continued to develop Carl’s passion for baseball and was also a tireless worker.

Carl remembers a number of wonderful teachers at Sahuaro who prepared him for Stanford. People like Charles Tharp, James Daunheimer, and Elwood Beehler were among the many who helped. The administration was fabulous. It was a very magic time at Sahuaro and Carl feels lucky to be a part of it. He felt that it was too good to be true to be associated with people like Henry Egbert, Harry Johnson, Bill Ismay, Jane Stratman, and Al Slawson. These people were not only mentors to Carl but they were friends to
both him and his future wife, Billie. They provided that open door if he got in trouble or just needed to talk to someone. Carl states that Sahuaro taught him the discipline to handle the challenges that would come from Stanford School, and his internship and Medical
UCLA residencies. But that was not all. He says it helped for him to laugh at himself and not take things too seriously.

Carl came to Sahuaro as a shy socially inept young boy and actually left with a personality which would grow with each new learning experience But the most important thing that Sahuaro provided him was with his wife of 25 years. He remembers well when he first saw her when she was running for Recording Secretary. When he saw her on stage Carl knew she was for him. He only hoped she would fall for him. Towards the end of their junior year, it happened. She was and is beautiful, Carl and Billie have two wonderful boys. David is a freshman at Dartmouth. He was an All-State baseball player and a top student at Central Catholic in Portland, Michael is a sophomore at Central Catholic and has a bright future as a football player. He makes Carl laugh and drives his mother crazy.

After Stanford and UCLA, Carl did his internship in San Diego. His residency started at Maricopa County General Hospital in Diagnostic Radiology but had to transfer to the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. He states that his best year of training came in 1983-84 in Phoenix at the Barrow Neurological Institute doing a year of fellowship in Neuroradiology In June 1984 the family moved to Portland and now Carl works with five other radiologists at Adventist Medical Center. There have been many changes in medicine but he still enjoys his job. He primarily does MRIs, CAT scans, mammography, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and reads regular X-rays. So was Sahuaro important to Carl in his life? If it wasn’t for Sahuaro, who knows what would have happened? He says he developed discipline, which was taught to him on the football field. He met his wife and they have two wonderful sons. He had the experience of being a part of a new school with all the vibrant personalities and features. Carl says he has been very lucky in his life in SO many ways and having been a student at Sahuaro is near the top of the list.