Pedro "Pete" Perez, 99, of Mountain Home, passed away on Jan. 12, 2017, at St. Luke's Elmore. A Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Our Lady of Good Counsel, and burial with military honors will follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home.
Pete was born Sept. 28, 1917, in Vacaville, Calif., to Rafael and Maria Perez (Maņas). The family moved around Northern California, eventually settling in Orland, Calif., where he grew up and attended school.
After high school, Pete had a variety of jobs throughout California, including managing an olive oil plant and working and learning to fly at what is now Los Angeles International Airport. He joined the U.S. Army in 1941. After training stateside, he was assigned to the 41st Field Artillery Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division and shipped off for the European Theater of World War II.
He fought in the battles of Southern France, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno and the Rhineland. He was awarded the European African Middle East Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal and the Croix de Guerre with Palm Order of the 1st French Army, 20 February 1945, signed by General Delattre de Tassigny.
He returned to the United States and was honorably discharged on June 30, 1945. He attended jeweler's school and moved to Mountain Home, where he worked as a jeweler, watch repairman and manager for Rowett Jewelers.
There, he met Andresa "Andy" Monasterio, and they were married Sept. 27, 1947. After starting a family he worked civil service at Mountain Home Air Force Base and continued watch repair from the home until retirement.
His life revolved around his wife, children, grandchildren and his garden. Pete always seemed much younger than his years, which his family attributed, in part, to his raising three generations of children, including his sons, Fred and Rob; his nieces, Joyce Novotny (Monasterio) and Linda Monasterio; and his grandchildren, Erin Acarregui (Perez) and Michael Perez.
He loved having people stop by in the summer so he could take them around his garden. You would never leave empty handed from these visits. He also cherished having his great-grandchildren, Kyle and Abby, stop by after school and visit with him.
Pete was recently preceded in death by his soul mate, Andy. A mere five weeks to the day of his wife's passing, Pete said goodbye to his family and joined her in Heaven.
He was also preceded in death by his parents, Rafael and Maria, and his brother, Pablo. He is survived by his sisters, Maria Alonso and Ysabel Alonso; his brothers, Ralph (Patricia) Perez and Fred Perez; his sons, Fred Perez and Rob (MaryAnn) Perez; his grandchildren, Erin (Steve) Acarregui, Michael Perez, Rick (Christine) Perez and Kim Perez; and his great-grandchildren, Kyle Acarregui, Abigail Acarregui and Kate Perez.