Roger Dean Perez of Delano, MN, passed away peacefully at home Feb. 24, 2021. A lifelong martial artist, Roger remained strong, fit, and active. He was teaching karate classes via Zoom until just prior to his passing of unexpected natural causes, at the age of 76.
Roger is survived by his wife, Sara Perez (Peterson); his brother, Max Perez; sister-in-law, Debie; and his brother-in-law, Gary Peterson.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Sandra Peterson; and parents, Max Sr. and Mildred Perez.
Roger grew up in Chicago. He attended military and private high schools. He joined the Air Force and finished his high school diploma while in the service and seeing the world. Roger was an aircraft jet engine mechanic of the C-130 propeller transport aircraft in Vietnam.
Roger started his karate career in 1968, studying under a world renowned Sensei, Shojiro Sugiyama. Roger achieved his first black belt in 1980. By 2001, before he left Chicago to help family in California, he had refined and improved his skills to earn a fifth degree black belt. He was one of the top students and instructors. He founded a karate club, which continues to flourish today called the Chicago Kitoh Shotokan Sugiyama Karate-do.
Roger had further education degrees in psychology, philosophy, sales, business, and teaching. He was hard working, energetic, knowledgeable, and helpful.
A man of many talents, he held a variety of jobs. Some of Roger’s main careers were medical equipment radiology regional sales for hospitals in Minnesota and Illinois, instructor at a trade school, and account executive in California, and as a karate sensei in Chicago.
Roger met his bride to be, Sara, in California. They enjoyed 19 wonderful years in each other’s company.
Roger was a great listener, thoughtful, concise, and direct in his conversation and advice. Roger was a very positive person, and had a great sense of humor. Roger’s martial arts community and our community will dearly miss him.
There will be no public services. Roger’s life will be celebrated in a gathering of the immediate family.
Memorials for Roger may be directed to Iten Delano Funeral Home, PO Box 94, Delano, MN 55328. 763-972-2891.