Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Canoga High's Rudy Lugo Dies

The news came in a phone call this morning out of the blue from a schoolmate I'd not heard from in years. Here's how it appears on the Canoga Park High School website:
RUDY LUGO 1947-2008

It is with great sadness that the family of Canoga Park High School announces the passing of Rudy Lugo.

After a long courageous battle with cancer, Rudy passed away at home with his family and friends present.

Rudy Lugo was a graduate of Canoga in 1965, and began his career as a teacher and coach for Canoga in 1972. His life was devoted to the students and staff of his beloved school, and he was a huge influence on our entire community. Rudy was a teacher, a coach, and a friend to the highest degree. He was also a devoted son, husband, and father. And to GENERATIONS of young people, he was a tremendous role model for how they should conduct their lives. His lessons and legacy will continue to live on in them.

Funeral arrangements are pending.
The Daily News blog reports he died yesterday.

I'd written about Coach Lugo here 2 years ago and it was that blog entry and this one that prompted the phone call, as they show up pretty quickly in a Google search. That's the way it happens, no? Sad news brings old friends and family back together. It was good to catch up with you, Bill. Who'da thunk we Hunters of the late '70s would be all over the nation?

Coach Lugo, who was honored this spring by the Guadalupe Center in Canoga Park, will be honored during half-time at the Homecoming game November 7. Says that announcement:

Please join us in showing gratitude to Coach Lugo for the positive influence he has had on generations of young people. He retired from Canoga last year, and we wish to honor him for his long career of service to the community.
The Homecoming Game will be Friday, November 7th, at 7:00 pm. Come out early (about 6:00 pm) and watch our students in their annual Homecoming Parade. Two years ago, a large group of Coach Lugo's former athletes marched in the parade, and we'd love to see "Lugo's Legends" one more time!

Please make your plans to help us FILL THE STADIUM on this night to remember!!

Tickets for the game are $8.00 for adults, and $5.00 for students with school ID.

We look forward to seeing you back home again!
Well, I won't make it back home. But I sure wish I could be there. Thanks again, Rudy, for all you taught me.

    In paradisum deducant te angeli:
    in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
    et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
    Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
    et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Reverend,
I am also a fellow “Hunter” who attended Canoga Park High School and graduated in 1991, I was fortunate enough to have been also coached by Rudy Lugo back when I was on the wrestling team from ’89-’91. In my senior year at Canoga I had the unique fortune of having been taught by coach in my 4th period Spanish class, my 6th period and after school wrestling team practice; which dragged onto all day wrestling tournaments on Saturdays, and as one of my Sunday School instructors at the local Catholic parish”Our Lady of The Valley” which coach regularly attended. You could say I had coach for a year straight!
I remembered one time when I let my grades start to slip, that coach let me have it in front of the entire team! He said something to the effect that” I had great potential and that I can make something out of my life, but if I wanted to goof around with the wrong crowd and let my grades slip that would head down the wrong path in life”, he said that it was up to me to make the right choice and straighten up. Well that and a few more colorful words later got me to really think about what I was doing with my life, and the light in my head finally clicked! At the end of that same week on Sunday coach came to me and apologized for acting very un-Christian, and I said to him that I understood what he was saying and that he did not have to apologies. It is because of Coach Lugo’s life lessons that I find myself today living one of my Childhood dreams of working for the Walt Disney Company as one of its artist.
At yesterdays services at Our Lady of The Valley you could see the many lives he had touched and you could sense the history of love that coach has left behind as his legacy. There were generations of Hunters going all the way back to the early 60’s to the current class of 2009, old classmates in football jerseys and lettermen’s jackets and new and retired faculty.
Topanga Canyon blvd was closed from Sherman Way to Vanowen St so that coach could make on last trip around the football field in the hearse along with the current football team and its coach.
But rest assured that the Lugo legacy will continue as coach’s son Christopher is working as assistant football coach at Canoga Park High School.