This is a tribute to the amazing person we have had the honor to know, Herman Loaiza, Jr., whose life ended tragically in a car accident on December 23. He was a Santa Monica resident and business owner of H & H Auto Body Shop that served Santa Monica for two generations as a family business. This tribute is not only to Herman, but also to those who survive him, to whom we owe our gratitude because they helped to shape who he was to all the rest of us. This is also a tribute to those of us who will never forget him.
Santa Monica has lost a model citizen, one who treated everyone with compassion and everything with reverence. Herman had an incredible ability to make everyone he met feel good. He was easily awed, and showed us to appreciate even simple things in life. Whatever awed Herman, inspired awe in us. Our world is a better place because he was here.
Patrons and employees have lost a great businessman, one who was an honorable leader and consummate professional, and one who commanded respect and respected all in return. Perhaps we challenged him to overcome obstacles; perhaps we inspired him to strive toward greatness. He challenged us to be better than we were, and his greatness made us great.
Many have lost a loyal friend and trusted confidant, one who wouldn’t think twice about offering his shoulder, a hand, or a talk. Herman showed us how to make the most of every situation. He earned our trust and won our loyalty, and in turn he was loyal to, and trusted, us. His friendship inspired us to be great friends. We had some of the best times of our lives with him. Those of us lucky enough to have been his friends are forever changed by his presence.
Siblings have lost a brother, one who loved his family above all. Jerry and Terry, you showed him the importance of protecting and embracing those we love. Your closeness was evidenced by his ability to connect with others whether he knew them for years or for moments. Perhaps we can open up to others a little better because of your influence in his life.
A young man has lost a mentor, one who taught him to be courageous and appreciate important things in life. Richie, you showed him joy and he loved you like a son. Perhaps being the man he was, Herman inspired you to be all you can be. As you grow, perhaps you will carry that inspiration with you and inspire others to do the same. Then, you, too, will make the world a better place.
A little girl has lost her daddy. Olivia Tess, you have incredible footsteps to follow as well as a lot to be proud of. You taught your father the meaning of true, unconditional love, and it was obvious to all that he loved you with every inch of his being. That love will never die; it lives on in you. That is your legacy. Perhaps you will always carry your father’s love with you, and perhaps you will love your own children like that someday. Perhaps we all will.
A father has experienced grief beyond words by losing a son. Herman, Sr., we owe you our utmost respect and love. Your guidance, love and respect created a man of honor and integrity. You instilled in Herman confidence and a genuine zest for life, and in turn, he showed us how to fearlessly live life to its fullest. Your strength made him strong. The strength he showed us has made us stronger. You have made a significant impact on all of us. Thank you.
A fiancé has lost her best friend, gentle lover and soul mate. Cheryl, your devotion and love toward Herman are the gifts you freely gave. Herman’s life was whole with you in it, and he let everyone know you completed him. With you in his life, Herman taught us by example to embrace each other and cherish special moments, whether we are lucky enough to be in love or just in love with life. Because of you, Herman gave us the courage to love so much. Because of you, we all know it is possible to love so deeply. You continue to inspire us as Herman has. You are truly amazing and we treasure your friendship.
Herman, you may be gone in the physical sense, but you are still very much a part of who we are. Although we must let you go, there is a piece of all of us that goes with you. And though we must live on, we forever take you with us. Those of us you left behind have each other, and for that we thank you, for you brought all of us together.
When we see a motor-cross race, when we tour Costa Rica, when we see someone act with compassion toward another, when we look into Olivia’s eyes, when we have a great time, when we fall in love, when we go to the river, when we ski out of bounds, when we look at the moon, when we hug Trixie, when we live for the day, when we see a white butterfly, and always… We will think of you and remember all that you were, and all that you inspired us to be.
Godspeed, Hollywood Herman.
An educational fund has been established in memory of Herman Loaiza, Jr. to benefit his daughter, Olivia Tess. The family will gratefully accept contributions made payable to Olivia Tess Loaiza. Contributions can be dropped off or mailed to H&H Auto Body Shop, 1827 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404.