On October 5, 2021, Joseph A. Perez, 91, (aka José Antonio Pérez) passed away in San Francisco, Calif., under the loving care of his daughter just 10 days after learning he had stage four lung cancer. Predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Joanne R. Pérez; parents, Mario and Carmen Belén Pérez; and his grandson, Mario Román Ordoñez-Pérez; he is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Mario and Donna Pérez of Mt. Vernon, Wash.; daughter, Sarah A. Pérez of San Francisco Calif.; son, John W. Pérez and grand-daughter, Julia M. Pérez of Little Rock, Ark.; and other family and friends.
Born to immigrant parents in Manhattan, New York City, he took the subway for an hour from Washington Heights to attend Brooklyn Technical High School. His early involvement in the Boy Scouts led him to Broadway Temple United Methodist Church. In 1952, Joe earned a BA with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy from West Virginia Wesleyan, Buckhannon, W.V., where he met Joanne, who was only a few miles from home. He earned a BA in Sacred Theology in 1955 and his PhD in Social Ethics in 1964 from Boston University. Joe and Joanne lived in London while Joe studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In 1959, Joe became pastor in the Mountainville First United Methodist Church and Vail’s Gate FUMC in the New York Conference. The family moved to Michigan in 1965, where Joe worked as sociology professor at Adrian College. In 1977, he joined the Board of Global Ministries in New York City, working first as Executive Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, and later, Mission Support for the World Division. Joe retired in 1995, but continued his work teaching many years in the Schools of Christian Mission of the FUMC and as a longtime member of the Board of Directors of LEAHC (Lenawee Emergency and Affordable Housing Corporation).
A service was on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Donations in Joe’s honor may be given to the American Lung Association or to a charity of your choice.
Condolences can be left at the funeral home online at www.smithfamilycares.com or mailed to daughter Sarah Perez, 732 Treat Ave., San Francisco, CA 94110.