IT WAS a sad moment for Negrense paddlers and the table tennis community in the country when Dr. Leonito “Diotay” Lopue, founder and president of the multi-titled Lopues Table Tennis Association (LOPTTA), passed away last December 5, 2020.

Known as the father of table tennis in Negros Occidental, Lopue through LOPTTA has discovered and developed potential and competitive Negrense paddlers -- who did not only bring pride and honor to the province but, also to the country.

For LOPTTA family, Dr. Lopue is the most precious person in the organization and in their lives. As they paid tribute to their founder whom they considered a person with a kind soul, an indulgent heart, and a disciplined mind, Dr. Lopue is best remembered as a serious and disciplined man.

“Duty, decency, reliability, honor, dignity, and respect are the qualities that he not only held in high esteem but practiced every day during his time on this earth. He could never resist the opportunity to have time and even laugh with friends and loved ones especially his grandchildren, given half the chance,” said in a LOPTTA statement.

“We could still remember his voice during our meeting saying, "do not settle for second best if you could bring home the gold. Develop your life's skills, study hard, and practice well. In your success, keep humble and in your struggles, stay good. There are always a lot of things in life to be thankful for than there are to complain about," it added in a statement.

“Finally, though it's really hard to say parting words but, we have to. The LOPTTA family that he started and developed will be missing him - whom we called our beloved Chief - Doki. Thank you for your all-out support, selfless sacrifice, and love for us all. Our memories with you will be cherished in our hearts for life,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, a post by Lopue's youngest son, Kim, stressed that they are greatly saddened by his passing but, [his dad] left them a legacy of service and generosity, love of family, and concern for those who have less in life. It is an honor to be children and a gift to be loved by him," Kim added in his post.

"Please continue to pray for us and the eternal rest of Papa [Diotay Lopue]. Knowing you are with us in prayer gives us the strength and courage we need as we face a future without his presence," he added.

Dr. Lopue was finally laid to rest last Sunday.