Anthony "Ant Man" Lopez

Obituary of Anthony "Ant Man" Scott Lopez

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'Such a bright shining star:' By Jeff Graham at The Kitsap Sun Plenty of people in the Belfair community knew Anthony Lopez by the nickname he shared with a Marvel superhero: Ant-Man. For Anthony's mother, Betsy Cartmill, Lopez was a living miracle. Born in 2002, Lopez was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a dangerous condition that affects the ability for newborns to receive enough oxygen. He weighed only 4 pounds at birth, and doctors cautioned Cartmill that it would be a struggle for Lopez to survive even six months. "They told me multiple times he wasn't going to make it," Cartmill said. Instead, Lopez touched the lives of everyone around him for nearly two decades. The 2021 North Mason High School graduate died July 20 at Seattle Children's Hospital at the age of 19. "There was never a bad day with Anthony," said Cartmill, a mother of three. "He was truly the boy with the million-dollar smile who captured the hearts of all who had the honor to meet him. I know I was honored just to be his mom. He always made me proud."  Growing up in Ellensburg playing soccer and baseball, Lopez's passion for sports continued even after health issues prevented him from being an active participant. He succeeded in winning fantasy football leagues against adults and could pull out random stats off the top of his head. "He just lived and breathed sports," said Lopez's stepfather, Shane Harris, noting that his stepson's favorite teams were the Seahawks and Mariners. "He would watch old repeats of games. He loved it."  When his family relocated to Belfair at the start of his high school career in order to be closer to Seattle-based hospital care, Lopez joined North Mason's baseball team as a student manager. That's when he first began cultivating a relationship with baseball coach Rob Thomas, an assistant under Bill Geyer at the time. "He just wanted to be there and be a part of the team and wanted to talk your ear off about sports," Thomas said. "He was a Bulldog through and through. He was a true supporter and wanted to be a part of everything he could be. The boys loved him. The team would rally around that kid."  The young man with tiny hands and feet who needed supplementary oxygen to breathe also had a giant personality. He didn't shrink from the challenge of getting to know his teachers and classmates. "He was such a happy kid, such a social kid," said Corie Hackett, Lopez's life skills teacher at North Mason. "Every passing period, we'd be in the middle of finishing up an assignment and Anthony would hear the bell ring and he'd jump up, 'Got to go talk to my friends! Bye!'"  When Hackett started up Bulldog Java, a life skills program in which students make and deliver coffee within the school, Lopez took it upon himself to be a vocal promoter of the business. "He was our own little PR person. The phone would ring for Bulldog Java and he would jump out of his seat and run to the phone to answer it. He would be so out of breath," Hackett said. "He was such a bright shining star. We adored having him and getting to know him."  During North Mason High School's graduation ceremony on the football field in 2021, Lopez made a point to sit in the stands with his best friends. Some of those friends provided assistance to Lopez when it was his turn to walk to the stage to receive his diploma. "I feel like the community really loved him, the student body really loved him," Hackett said, fighting back tears. "I really loved him. He was such a great kid."  Dreaming of becoming a police officer in adult life, Lopez began hospice care two years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic as his heart and lung health continued to decline. Cartmill said doctors told her at the time that Lopez might live three more months.  He beat the odds again, and made plans for later this summer: Attend a bonfire party with friends. Go to a Mariners game for his 20th birthday in August. Visit a tattoo parlor. "He wanted a tattoo so bad," Cartmill said. "He was going to get the Seattle skyline, Seahawks, Mariners, and North Mason, all in one tattoo on his arm."  One of Cartmill's favorite memories of Lopez is him singing lines from the Justin Bieber song "Baby." Any time the song played, Lopez would sing the chorus and bring a smile to his mother's face. "He was my best friend," Cartmill said. Cartmill said Lopez did express concerns about death, specifically because he wanted to make sure his mother received the care she'd need. Lopez even got on the phone and tried buying Cartmill a new house and a new car in recent months.  "He was always so worried about me," Cartmill said.  During the final night Cartmill spent with Lopez at Seattle Children's Hospital on July 20, she briefly walked outside shortly after 9 p.m. The color of the sky appeared like cotton candy and Cartmill noticed a cloud in the shape of an angel's wing hovering over the hospital. "In that moment, for the first time in almost 20 years, this weird feeling came over me," Cartmill said. "It was like, 'You are going to be OK. You are going to be OK.' I went back upstairs and I hugged him and talked to him and said, 'I promise I'm going to be OK. I told him I loved him.'" 
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