Jaime Lopez-Balbontin, a long-time California Central Coast resident, died in Guadalajara on Thursday, August 11, after suffering a severe and sudden stroke.
Born in 1941 in Santiago, Chile, Lopez-Balbontin spent his youth in both Santiago and the coastal town of Valparaiso. In his early twenties, Lopez-Balbontin settled in to a governmental office job, but could not ignore his burgeoning spirit of adventure, which summoned him to the sea and a sailboat trip that eventually landed him in Morro Bay, California. Here, he continued his education before returning to the ocean as a commercial fisherman. In the late 1970s, Lopez-Balbontin again switched gears, this time answering a call to his entrepreneurial side. He established and co-operated Ocean Harvest Restaurant in Atascadero, California, with longtime friend and fellow Chilean Fernando Zanartu, eventually opening a second seafood restaurant, Captain’s Catch, in Paso Robles, California.
Six years ago, Lopez-Balbontin and his partner, Rosann, retired and decided to continue their “adventure” in Manzanillo, Mexico, where they experienced a completely different lifestyle, making many new friends both Mexican and foreign. Last year they moved to Ajijic.
Lopez-Balbontin’s joie de vivre inspired his family and friends alike. An avid theater-goer, he also performed in several productions at San Luis Obispo Little Theatre and the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria, California. He was a born teacher and coached several successful soccer teams. In addition, he was a great lover of animals of all kinds; his three dogs, four cats, and horse were equally devoted to him.
Lopez-Balbontin is survived by his wife and partner of 40 years, Rosann Balbontin; daughters Yasmin Ojile and Daniela Harrower, and son Adrian Lopez-Balbontin; (American) mother Mary Jean Munro; brothers Tam, Pete, Don, and Jimmy Munro and their spouses and children; and sister Jan Munro Anderson and her husband. In Chile, Lopez-Balbontin leaves a sister, Yvonne, and her husband; nephews Cristian and Carlos and their respective families; and niece Maria Jose. He will be sorely missed by all.
A private memorial will be held in Mexico, as well as a event in California. Both are to be announced.
Keith Anthony Martin
Keith Martin died in a Guadalajara hospital from complications arising from a medical procedure August 11, at the age of 73.
Born in Bromley, Kent, England, Martin left home with his family at age 14 to live and continue his schooling in Jamaica. He went to the United States to work with the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York and later was seconded to Nassau, Bahamas, where he met his wife, Maureen.
Martin graduated in Business Studies from York University. His career continued for 29 years with JPMorgan Chase in Canada, where he was a vice president. He was a former vice president of Northern Trust. Martin became president/CEO at UBS. He was a former director of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
Martin enjoyed almost seven years of retirement in Ajijic. In his involvement with the Lake Chapala Society, he applied his lifetime of skills and experience in his volunteer work on the board of directors and he served two years as chair of the Audit and Advisory Committee. After Ben White became president, Martin agreed to serve on the board and help the organization move toward hiring an outside, independent audit firm. He was instrumental in conducting the evaluations of the audit firm candidates and worked tirelessly to make sure the first audit engagement was a success.
Many people attended the iPad and Android classes which Martin organized and taught. He often generously shared his techie knowledge when people approached him with computer problems.
His hobbies included genealogy, reading, music, scrabble and his Writers’ Group. He had just finished a work of fiction which was set in The Bahamas, Toronto and Mexico.
During his lifetime Martin had many dogs. Perhaps his favorite was a golden retriever named Keema. She loved the water and in winter would break surface ice to take a dip.
Prior to retirement Keith and Maureen bought a hobby farm on the Niagara Escarpment. It had hundreds of apple trees – beautiful in blossom time. Martin played farmer on his big tractor cutting the grass between the rows of trees. One day he startled a wild turkey family. In a trice all the babies disappeared out of sight into the long grass while the brave mother strutted ostentatiously ahead of the tractor leading Martin away from her chicks.
As Martin wished, there will be no funeral. Cremation has taken place and his ashes are to return to Canada to be scattered in his apple orchards. A celebration of his life will be held in Ajijic at a future date when his snowbird friends have returned.