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Reflecting on Life and Love: A Centenarian Railroad Worker’s Journey

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Individuals who reach the remarkable age of 100 are truly fortunate, and in Houston, we have the privilege of honoring centenarian José Pérez for his long and fulfilling life.

José Pérez was born on March 15, 1924, in Huanimaro, Guanajuato, Mexico, a century ago. In an exclusive interview conducted just days before his 100th birthday celebration, we had the pleasure of conversing with him.

We engaged with his welcoming family in their residence, a home that has been in their possession for over 60 years, a home that he and his beloved wife, María de la Luz, established together.

José Pérez and María de la Luz had known each other since their youth in Mexico. Their love story blossomed when María, a school teacher, captured José’s heart upon his return to Mexico after working in the United States.

Dressed impeccably in a suit, José immediately caught María’s eye, a moment fondly recounted by their daughters, Rose Cordaway and Dr. Norma Pérez.

The couple eventually made Houston their home and were blessed to share 50 years of marriage until María de la Luz passed away in 1998. Together, they raised nine children, welcomed 16 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren into their loving family.

José emphasized the importance of understanding in a marriage, stating, “Love each other and understand each other,” in Spanish.

Prioritizing effort and education for his three children, José Pérez worked tirelessly upon his arrival in the U.S., dedicating several decades to the railroad industry before retiring in 1987.

“My greatest achievement was raising my children and ensuring they stayed committed to their education,” Pérez expressed. “I encouraged them to study hard and seize every opportunity that came their way. Hard work and dedication are essential, regardless of the job.”

José Pérez’s remarkable journey has garnered recognition, with accolades from the mayor of Houston. Despite facing challenges, including the loss of his wife and a recent fall that necessitated a walker, Pérez remains active and engaged.

A dedicated voter, José Pérez actively participates in all elections and, until recently, drove himself around town, renewing his driver’s license punctually. He frequented Selena Quintanilla Park for daily walks and even collaborated with his eldest son in years past.

With a century of life experiences, José Pérez leaves behind a legacy built on love, perseverance, and the invaluable lesson of resilience. He transcended language barriers, geographical distances, and personal loss, embodying a philosophy of embracing life’s challenges with fortitude.

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