Trust the Torch!

Mario J. Perez

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Mario J. Perez, 77, Woodstock, died Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, at home surrounded by his family after succumbing to prostate cancer.

He was born Jan. 19, 1935, in Seneca to Carmen and José Perez.

He was raised in Marseilles and moved to Chicago in the 1940s. 

On May 8, 1965, he married Esther Peterson of Ames, Iowa, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Chicago.

He attended St. Patrick’s Academy in Chicago and graduated from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1957, with a major in history and minor in anthropology; he earned his juris doctorate from DePaul University College of Law in 1960. 

He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and served in the U.S. Army Reserves. 

In 1960, he began practicing law in Chicago at CNA Insurance Co., before moving to Woodstock to work at the law offices of Josyln and Green. He then started a private practice, which he managed until 2012. 

He was the first Latino lawyer in McHenry County and one of the first in the state of Illinois. He served the Spanish-speaking community for more than 50 years with his involvement in a variety of civic organizatitions.

He loved sports, books, European and Latin American history and culture, anthropology, genealogy, nature, wildlife, fishing, carpentry, wine, family, music, dancing and getting lost on the back roads of Illinois and Iowa.

Survivors include his wife, Esther; two sons, Paul (Gasia), Oakland, Calif., and David; a daughter, Christine; two grandsons; two sisters, Mamie Guerra, Marseilles, and Carmen “Lito” Perez, Chicago; four brothers, Jesse (Lin) Perez, Palatine, Ignatius “Nacho” Perez, North Aurora, Russell Perez, Palos Hills, and John (Sandy) Williams, Mokena; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation and the funeral Mass were held Nov. 5 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Woodstock. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery, Woodstock.

Memorials can be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois, 405 Lake Zurich Road, Barrington, IL 60010, the Northwestern Memorial Foundation (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center), Galter Pavilion, Suite 3-200, 251 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, or St. Mary Parish, 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098.

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