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Marie Lucretia Mata Perez passed away peacefully from natural causes on February 25th at the age of 86. Marie was at home when she left us, as was her wish.
Born in Mexico, Marie moved with her mother to Gilroy, California when she was very young. There, as a teenager, she fell in love with Ralph Perez and they married in 1951. In 1960, they purchased a house in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose where they raised their two children and made many friends over the sixty-two years in the neighborhood.
Marie loved dogs and cats, and had a penchant for taking in motley strays that did not always respect her desire for clean floors. She also loved flowers and birds and her backyard held a multitude of roses and bird feeders. She kept her husband busy building and installing birdhouses, and each spring the chirps of nestlings would spill from the tiny, round entrances and fill the air.
Marie loved to socialize and dance, she, and husband Ralph threw parties where friends and neighbors would gather around the bar in the family room to tell jokes and stories while Trini Lopez, Dean Martin and Freddie Fender crooned from their stereo speakers. Whenever guests would drop by, she always welcomed them with a smile, and after the visit ended, her parting line was "My door's always open!"
Marie was an elder of the local Amah Mutsun tribal band, and she attended many tribal functions. In 2019, at the age of 83, she joined tribal members and other concerned citizens on a five-mile pilgrimage from San Juan Bautista to protest a proposed sand and gravel pit mine from being built on the tribe's sacred ceremonial site of Juristac in Gilroy.
It was Marie and Ralph's wish to be inurned together at Los Gatos Memorial Park. After her husband joins her, a memorial will be held for Marie and Ralph at Chapel of the Hills in Los Gatos and everyone will be welcome to attend. In the meantime, memories and kind wishes may be left on her Legacy page.
In lieu of sending flowers, donations to an animal charity would be an appropriate remembrance as Marie had a soft spot in her heart for all creatures unable to speak for themselves.