How Lisa Lopez-Galvan, mom killed at KC Chiefs rally shooting, touched so many lives

Everyone talks about her broad smile and red lipstick. Her infectious laugh, unbounded and rhythmic. And her heart, bigger than both.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, a rosary and visitation at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist) Church will honor Elizabeth “Lisa” Lopez-Galvan, the 43-year-old mother and beloved disc jockey who was killed Feb. 14 when bullets flew at Union Station just before 2 p.m. as the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory rally was ending.

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Catholic church, 3333 Broadway Blvd., chosen precisely because it is large. Her burial will be private, just for family.

Hundreds are expected to attend the services for a woman who was loved not only by friends and her family — including her husband, Mike, her children, Marc, 22, Adriana, 19, and stepdaughter Tiffany Bañuelos — but also by Kansas City’s close-knit Hispanic community who view the loss of the Shawnee mother as profound.

If there was a wedding, odds are that DJ Lisa G was there to disc jockey. An anniversary, she was there. A quinceañera, fiesta, graduation or special event for the Hispanic community, Lopez-Galvan stepped up, whether she was paid or not.

Meanwhile, she had her own career, in job recruitment. Her gig as the co-host on KKFI, the community radio station, of “Taste of Tejano” featuring Latin music made her a local celebrity.

“She was at every event, whether she was DJing, or she was there, or was promoting the event with KKFI. She definitely had a face in the community,” said Jenny Mendez, cultural affairs director for the Mattie Rhodes Center, a community development nonprofit on the West Side. Mendez, older than Lopez-Galvan, grew up in the same neighborhood near 26th and Madison streets, having known of Lopez-Galvan since both were children.

Those who might not have known Lopez-Galvan personally might likely have known her sister, Carmen, or brothers, Luther or Beto. Beto Lopez, the oldest of the four, is president of the Guadalupe Centers in Kansas City. Their father, Beto Lopez Sr., was a popular mariachi musician.

“Her family has always been one of those families that has been a staple of the West Side community,” Mendez said.

In the days since her death, Facebook and other social media have filled with videos of Lopez-Galvan at various events, microphone in hand, her black hair pulled back in a long ponytail, playing music, calling out the names of friends and attendees.

“I see you Christy!” she said in a video from 2021, a remote DJ gig done as COVID-19 raged. “Checking the sound, guys. Checking the sound.”

On Tuesday, Tejano musicians from across the nation called into KKFI for a special 8 p.m. show dedicated to Lopez-Galvan to speak of her kindness, her humor and gracious nature. This week, a special issue of the KC Hispanic News was dedicated to her.

“She was the smallest person with the biggest personality,” Angelina Tinoco, a friend from childhood, told The Star. “She was always a kid at heart. Always smiling. Always laughing. In a serious moment, you could not sit next to her. She would make you laugh.”

Cousin Adriana Melgoza Pecina said that, even as a child, Lopez-Galvan was ”a born leader.”

“At all our picnics, reunions, gatherings, she would kind of direct the younger ones. ‘Let’s go play kickball! Let’s go!’ She was the little organizer. She was cheering people on ever since she was little.”

Over and over again, friends and family described Lopez-Galvan as “the life of the party.” Never overly loud. Never unpleasant. Always positive, always willing to toss in a quote from a funny movie. (“And don’t call me surely!” from 1980’s “Airplane!” being a favorite.)

“She’s the person that, you know, brings happiness and joy and excitement,” said cousin Anna Bazen-Munguia. “I’m telling you: family, friends, sports, Kansas City, music and faith. Those six things are Lisa.”

An avid Kansas City Chiefs fan, Lopez-Galvan was wearing a white No. 7 jersey for kicker Harrison Butker when she was killed. Her son, looking for a similar jersey for his mother to be buried in, received one, gifted by the kicker.

“She was so proud of being from Kansas City,” Bazen-Munguia said. “You could talk to her about God. You could talk to her about sports. You could talk to her about who the artist was who was singing. Those were our conversations.”

To Lopez-Galvan, who also had four grandchildren — Raquel, Julian, Anai and Reign — family was extended. She had female friends from childhood, a group of “comadres,” she spoke to daily.

“We’ve talked a lot about this in the past few days,” Beto Lopez, her brother, said. “We have 12 nieces and nephews within our immediate family. She called all of them her ‘babies.’ That was the word. ‘Oh, these are my babies.’”

She called her female cousins and friends “sisters.”

“I think all the times I ever ran into her, she was always in a cheery mood,” said Michael Carmona, 35, a senior director of KCSourceLink, an entrepreneurship program that is part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Carmona said he came to know Lopez-Galvan through her sister, Carmen, who hired Carmona for his first job in 2012 at the Hispanic Economic Development Corp. They grew close.

“I have not met one Lopez who was not a good person,” he said, Lopez-Galvan chief among them.

“She was somebody you knew that could just lighten up the space,” he said. “Lisa was the type of person — all the times that I’d run into her — and it was, like, her saying, ‘I’m proud. I’m so proud of you.’

“We’re not even family. But she kept up with you and she made you feel important.”

Lopez-Galvan’s obituary notes that she was “known as everyone’s biggest cheerleader.” She volunteered for the Folly Theater’s Hispanic Heritage Month, served as a volunteer board member for the annual Fiesta Hispana. She was a disc jockey for the Eagles Nest Foundation and the American Legion’s annual scholarship fundraiser. A graduate of Bishop Miege High School, she supported the school’s annual auction and the Guadalupe Centers’ Club KC to support youth summer programs.

Hundreds of tributes to her have been posted on social media.

“She is the one that got me to go and pitch for the Kansas City bravos,” reads one about the Hispanic fast-pitch softball team. “Our whole bravos team were her big brothers. … MISS YOU LITTLE SISTER.”

“Lisa was one in a million,” said another.

“She was one of those rare people you meet in your lifetime,” wrote a third.

On Tuesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that two adults had been charged with felony murder in her death. Lyndell Mays, 23, of Raytown and Dominic M. Miller, 18, of Kansas City each face charges of second-degree felony murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon. They each are being held on $1 million bond. Two juveniles also face charges.

Twenty-five people are now believed to have suffered gunshot wounds at the rally. Lopez-Galvan was the only fatality.

“This is heavy. This is really heavy for so many people,” Mendez of the Mattie Rhodes Center said. “It hurts your heart because it hits home.”