And the Lord smiled, “Welcome home, My Corinne. I’ve got some folks who’ve been waiting to see you.”
Thursday, September 27, 2018. It is a sad parting for the family of Corinne Perez—but another great day in Heaven. There, Albert’s telling windy stories about the best coyote hunt ever, when something catches his eye, and he stops mid-sentence, because... there she is. Sure enough, as in the twinkling of an eye, his Corinne is home!
Corinne Rivera Perez was born in Albuquerque on January 11, 1927 to Manuel and Jesusita Bustos Rivera (oft spelled Ribera). However, owing to some fateful turns in business, at the age of eight, Corinne was sadly sent to an orphanage in Santa Fe with her sister, Alice, while their brother, Manuel, was sent to another. Fate wasn’t done with Corinne, though, and here, at the Loretto Chapel, she met Sister Wilumana, who became the most influential person in her life. Immediately, the girls were introduced to Joshua, 1:9—”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Corinne internalized that, along with Sister Wilumana’s teachings on reading, ballet, tap dancing, art, and life.
After attending Waterflow, an academy in the Four Corners area, Corinne attended a secretarial school while working as a medical secretary at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where she met Anna Perez. One weekend Anna invited her out to the ranch to go horseback riding, and fate struck again. It was here that this beautiful other half of “Albert and Corinne” met her future husband, and the love affair was on.
She said “I do” on August 30, 1947, beginning a partnership, friendship, and love that lasted 62 years. Corinne and Albert lived in Flagstaff, AZ, then the ranch at Pintada, NM, then moved to the “big ranch” so the children could attend school at Yeso, and eventually settled in Vaughn. They raised four children and many a dogie lamb along the way, all of whom she doted over. This city girl dug in and made one of the best rancher’s wives God ever set on the earth—but Corinne Perez was so much more.
Sister Wilumana’s lessons stuck. In the years they lived near Yeso, Corinne started a variety of dance classes, and made all the kids’ costumes for all their recitals, paying forward the gifts she’d received. Corinne was a voracious reader, and could recite history from every era, eagerly sharing details of dates, and dress, and peoples from every continent. She equally loved history in the making, watching TV through the wee hours, rapt in the latest happenings at the Vatican, or a royal wedding, or a Russian ballet. She treasured her friendships, participating in many clubs—Beta Sigma Phi, Mile High Extension Club, and founding member of the first public library in Vaughn—while keeping up with the latest local news, attending the Opera in Santa Fe, or simply bringing cheer to an old friend. Perhaps her strongest suit was compassion, because of where she had been. Corinne cared deeply for all.
A quote from her longtime favorite political columnist, Charles Krauthammer, spoke to her soul: “I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life—full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”
Corinne is survived by her son Albert (Tibo) Perez and wife Robin of Santa Fe; son Narciso Perez of Albuquerque; daughter Cambria Masci and husband Gregory of Paradise Valley, AZ; daughter Pier Perez-McKellar and husband Lane of Canyon Lake, CA; grandchildren Cassidy Nunn and husband James of Aurora, CO, Kendall Perez of Santa Fe, NM, Sean Perez of Albuquerque, and Giuliano Masci of Paradise Valley, AZ; great-granddaughter Riley Belle Nunn of Aurora, CO; sister Alice Mandrell of Downington, PA, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, in-laws, out-laws, and other beautiful friends she deemed family. In addition to her husband, Albert Perez, Corinne was preceded in death by her parents, and her brother.
Pallbearers will be Albert Perez, Narciso Perez, Sean Perez, Giuliano Masci, Vincent Perez, and Lane McKellar. Rosary will be at French Mortuary Chapel, 10500 Lomas Blvd. NE, in Albuquerque on October 21, 2018, at 6:00 PM. Funeral mass is scheduled for 10:30 AM, October 22, 2018, at St. Mary’s Church in Vaughn, with burial to follow alongside Albert, in Vaughn, NM. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, NM.