Lope Malla

September 25, 1929 - November 21, 2020


Lope Suyat Malla died peacefully in Seattle on November 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 91.

Lope was born on September 25, 1929 in San Nicolas, Pangasinan, Philippines to Carlos and Gregoria Malla.  Shortly after his birth, his father Carlos enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in World War II.  At the end of the war, Carlos brought the family to America for a better economic life – ultimately established roots in Seattle. 

While a high school student at Broadway High School, Lope worked as a waiter and spent summers at Alaskan canneries like many Filipino immigrants. During this time, his father Carlos went missing in action in the Korean war and Lope supported the family for several months in his absence. 

As a college student at PLU, Lope volunteered at American Lake Hospital as an interpreter helping older Filipino war veterans suffering from PTSD. He initially aspired to be a doctor, but changed course to become a professional cook; a decision that would define his role in the Filipino community.

With his AA degree from Edison Technical School, he became a cook at the Roosevelt Hotel and an expert in Hawaiian cuisine.  He went on to open the 707 Broiler Deli and the Lei Aloha restaurants. 

While a successful entrepreneur, Lope will always be remembered for feeding his community.  He hosted meriendas for the FYA drill team at his deli and catered countless fundraisers and wedding receptions at the Filipino Community Center.  For years, if you had gone to any major Filipino community event in Seattle, you likely sampled Lope’s great cooking.  It was a staple.  

Lope was also a dedicated member of Gran Oriente Filipino where he eventually became Deputy Grand Master, a national position.  A member since 1958, Lope cooked for his brothers while helping lead a fraternity committed to supporting Filipinos during segregation and beyond.

Lope’s proudest achievement was his 48-year marriage to Encarnacion.  Together they raised their son, Alan, on Beacon Hill and instilled in him the same work ethic and commitment to community Lope lived by.  His love for Encarnacion never wavered. In her final years in assisted living, Lope remained at her bedside (and still brought her food) until she passed in 2018.

Throughout his life, Lope gave and fed those around him.  Whether they were paying customers, community members, friends or family; no one walked away from him hungry. Towards the end of his years, Lope continued to cook for the Filipino Community Senior Citizen’s Food Program – still giving in the way he started decades ago.  Lope’s life of humble service and quiet generosity will never be forgotten.

Lope is survived by his three children, Llewellyn, Phillip, Alan; daughter in-law Joleen; and grandson Gabriel. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Carlos and Gregoria; sister Arsenia, and his wife, Encarnacion.

A private graveside service will be held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 2PM at Bonney Watson.  Due to restrictions, attendance will be limited to immediate family members and invited guests.  A memorial service will be held at a later date, when we can safely celebrate his life together. 

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