Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016



by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Bradenton. Fla.
January 30, 2007
Passings
JOSÉ MARÍA PERÉZ-RUIBAL, 88, WAS A DEVOTED FATHER, BRILLIANT SCHOLAR, AND DISTINGUISHED TEACHER

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CUZCO, Peru, Jan. 30, 2007 [Updated Feb. 7, 2007]-- The streets of ancient Cuzco are a little emptier tonight. My father-in-law, his family's beloved "Papa José," passed away in a hospital in Cuzco at 8 p.m. after an illness of two months. Professor José María Peréz-Ruibal Gonzales was 88, and all of his family and the city he loved and the thousands he educated will miss him profoundly.

It is hard not to weep even now, hours later, when I think of this good, gentle, caring and committed man who spent his lifetime teaching Cuzqueńos and Peruvians the great literature of his country's ancient conquerors, the Spanish, and yet was a fiery supporter of the political causes of Peru's poor and oppressed.



"Papa José," as his extended family called him, was a distinguished tenured Professor of Spanish Literature at the National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco.

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Like his devoted and loving wife, Victoria Rodriguez Tohalino - our dear "Mama Vicky" - he spoke some Quechua, the language of Peru's indigenous descendants of the Incan empire, and so he had a grasp of the full range of his timeless culture and great compassion for all its people. A faculty publication of the National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco recently published a cover story that extolled his service and his erudition.

Cuzco, which is 3,000 years old and rests at 11,500 feet in the Peruvian Andes, is higher than the nearby ruins of Macchu Pichu and is said to be the oldest city in the Americas, founded more than 2,200 years before the rise of the Incan civilization, which was extinguished there with the death of Tupac Amaru in 1572. Professor Peréz-Ruibal, who was born in Cuzco on Sept. 22, 1918, was a lifelong resident and friend of the city, intimately familiar with its rich past and prosperous present.

His passing was announced on television, radio and in the Cuzco newspapers, prompting an enormous outpouring of condolences to the Perez-Ruibal family. More than 80 large floral wreaths were received from friends and family, and more than 300 people - many of them fellow and former members of the College of Sciences - his beloved Ciencias - gathered there for a funeral service and procession in his honor. At his internment in a mausoleum reserved for distinguished Cuzqueńos, dozens of hands reached to guide his coffin to its final resting place.



His grandaughter, Kathy Peréz-Ruibal, leads a funeral procession for Prof. José María Peréz-Ruibal at the National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco.

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Papa José was overjoyed when his daughter, Mireya, came to Cuzco from Florida several weeks ago to care for him, hoping to help return him to health. His daughter Maria Victoria, or "Cucha," as we call her, and his sons Edison, Franklin and Ivan, were the joy of his life. His greatest sorrow was to lose his son, Ivan, when Shining Path assassins shot him to death in his office at the university where he taught economics, apparently because Ivan wasn't far enough left to suit them.

More than 10,000 people attended Ivan's funeral. Many believed that Papa José's remarkable son, then a minister of tyoruism in the Cuzco mayor's cabinet and leader of a large labor union, was on the fast track to the presidency of Peru; the loss of Ivan was a terrible blow that his sorrowing father nonetheless suffered with grace.



Family members, faculty and public officials gathered for a eulogy at the College of Sciences at National University in Cuzco for Prof. José María Peréz-Ruibal.

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Long after his retirement from teaching, he loved to read all the daily newspapers and talk about politics and life. He would meet his friends almost every day in the warmly-lit cafes that dot the city. Most were retired members of the faculty from Nacional Universidad San Antonio Abad, where his lectures on Spanish Literature were always popular, and where he retired with elaborate and well-deserved ceremonies honoring his decades of teaching.

Papa José, who was barely five feet tall, was short in stature but his giant influence as a teacher and parent will be long felt. His son Col. Edison Peréz-Ruibal is commander of police in an entire state in Peru. His son-in-law, Cesar Molero, is in charge of Cuzco's motorcycle police; his daughter, César's wife Cucha, is a leader of her community and a progressive social worker; his youngest son, Franklin, is a municipal water engineer.

Each of them, and all of his cherished grandchildren, reflect the high intelligence and sturdy, ambitious and focused character of their patriarch. Among his former students are some of Peru's most distinguished scholars, generals and public officials, many of whom were present at the funeral rites.



Dozens of hands reach out to help guide the coffin of Prof. José María Peréz-Ruibal to its final resting place at a mausoleum in Cuzco.

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Papa José's grandchildren, Eduardo Luna, M.D. and Cecilia Luna Del Risco, Alejandro (a star soccer player) and Fatima Molero, Franklin, Eric and Stephanie, Edison, Jr., Elvia and Irena, along with Ivan's daughter, Kathy, are all bright, intelligent young people who shared their grandmother's deep devotion to their grandfather.

It is the custom in Cuzco to have a wake for the dead the night after death, and to bury the deceased the following day. Accordingly, the wake was held on Monday, Jan. 31, and Papa José was interred on Feb. 1.

All of us will miss him more than we can say. He was a good, loving man whose smile and bright eyes will stay with me and all of his family forever.

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In Loving Memory Of Papa José

A Peréz-Ruibal Family Album

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Papa José with his wife, Victoria, left, his daughter, Mireya Shea, right, his grandson Dr. Eduardo Luna, and his first great-grandchild, Micalea Luna Echegaray.

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Professor José Maria Peréz-Ruibal with his wife, Victoria (left), his son-in-law César (left, standing), his daughter Maria Victoria (left, seated), his daughter Mireya (above, right) and his son, Col. Edison Peréz-Ruibal.

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Papa José with his daughter Mireya, left, and his granddaughter, Fatima, in Plaza de Las Armas, the central square of Cuzco, Peru.

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At the family home in the Kennedy District of Cuzco, Prof. Peréz-Ruibal and his wife "Mama Vicky" and Mireya enjoy a good laugh.

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His granddaughter Fatima, Prof. Peréz-Ruibal, wife Victoria, his daughter, "Cucha" (standing), and right to left, son-in-law Joe Shea, Mireya Shea, family friend Dr. Regis Llerena and César Alexander Molero, the son of César and Cucha Molero, share a bite to eat.

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Prof. Peréz-Ruibal and his wife, Victoria (center), are flanked by their daughter Mireya Shea, and Mireya's son, Dr. Eduardo Luna, known to the family as "Lalo.".

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Papa José is joined by his son Franklin (right), wife Victoria (center), Mireya (second from left) and Cucha (standing, far left).

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Papa José was the center of his family. Here he is surrounded by several generations of family and friends.

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Dining out was always a great pleasure for Prof. Peréz-Ruibal when his family joined him.

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Papa José's family, including Claudia de Luna Echegaray (far left), and the family's longtime assistant, Aídé (standing, far right), and his grandson Eduardo (foreground) join him for a meal. Mireya Shea and her mother, Victoria, are at left, and Cucha Molero holds Micalea Luna, 1.

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Papa José looks on with pride as Claudia de Luna Echegaray offers the first bite of her first birthday cake to Micaela Luna Echegaray, held by her father, Dr. Eduardo Luna.

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Prof. Peréz-Ruibal congratulates his grandson, Dr. Eduardo Luna, on the occasion of his marriage to Claudia de Luna Echegaray.

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His grandaughter, Fatima, 10, leads the .

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Professor Peréz-Ruibal is proudly flanked by his daughters Mireya (left) and Maria Victoria (right), and accompanied by his wife, Victoria, at his home in Cuzco.

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A love story that lasted for half a century was at the heart of the marriage of Prof. José María Peréz-Ruibal Gonzalez and Victoria Rodriguez Tohaleno.

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Papa José's niece, Fátima Molero Peréz-Ruibal, 10, bears a wreath ahead of the procession of coffin-bearers and other mourners on Feb. 1 in Cuzco.

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This album of family photos dedicated to Papa José will be updated in coming weeks.

Copyright 2016 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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