Det. Ray Perez was remembered as a relentless guardian, devoted softball coach and loving father during a celebration of his life on May 18 that brought more than 200 people to the Centre in Lakewood.
The 30-year veteran of the Beverly Hills Police Department fought multiple myeloma during his last 13 years on the job, retiring last year as a detective in the Intelligence Unit.
Beverly Hills Police Capt. Lincoln Hoshino said he joined the department in the mid-1980s, around the same time as Perez, whom he described as someone who always saw the positive side of people and never lost his temper. Besides being a Dodger’s baseball and Notre Dame football fan, Perez dedicated himself to traveling around the country to watch his daughter Madi play softball.
“When he talked about Madi he always had the twinkle in his eye and how she got the brains from mom and the softball skills from dad,” Hoshino said.
Around 1990, Hoshino and Perez served on the Beverly Hills SWAT team and their sergeant at the time, Walt Gordon, insisted they conduct grueling training for sleep deprivation and night operation.
During one trip for “high-speed training” at Camp Pendleton’s Kilo 2 Combat Town, about 20 SWAT team members were tasked with scaling a hill they nicknamed Mount Suribachi, the mountain on Iwo Jima where Marines famously planted a flag during World War II. After running about 25 yards up the hill at Camp Pendleton, the officers were winded from wearing their helmets and tactical vests.
“We didn’t get very far up this hill but even after Ray had to get an IV infusion after this he never complained about it,” Hoshino said. “Never did I hear a single peep about it.”
Former Beverly Hills Police Chief Dave Snowden remembered Perez as a terrific representative of the police department with a great sense of humor. Perez told him once that he could work anywhere in the world as long as he could play softball.
“He’s going to be remembered always as such a positive member of the Beverly Hills Police Department,” Snowden said.
The memorial included a slideshow of photos from throughout Perez’s life – snapshots of family vacations and baseball games with friends. The Beverly Hills Police Department Honor Guard presented a folded American flag to Perez’s mother, and Madi Perez received a display box including a second folded American flag, Perez’s badge and Beverly Hills police patch, and other police insignia.
A tearful Madi Perez shared a letter she recently wrote to her dad, thanking him for teaching that true love means pushing your partner to achieve their potential. She was particularly devastated that her dad won’t get to see her marry her fiancé.
“I’m trying on wedding dresses and looking at venues with the pain of knowing you’re never going to get to walk me down the aisle,” she said. Of her fiancé, Madi said she knows Perez “loved [him]for me, but probably would still have had a hard time letting me go.”