Many Things for Children
A classic Nancy Perez story is about how she started taking karate in the late '90's and one day met a class of deaf children at her karate school.
Intrigued, Ms. Perez, left, began learning American Sign Language and ended up teaching karate to the children she had befriended.
"She would do anything for anyone," said Marie Roman, one of her best friends. "I don't remember what level she got to in karate but she learned sign language in six months."
"She was an upbeat person," Ms. Roman said. "We did country line-dancing, we went to Graceland, we took boxing lessons."
Ms. Perez, 36, was a Port Authority supervisor at One World Trade Center. Single and childless, she doted on children. She even wrote a book about a little boy afraid to go to school for her 8-year-old cousin, Kyle McCann. It was printed by a friend who was a graphic artist.
Ms. Perez was always learning something new, said Maritza Conti, her older sister. She enjoyed traveling and also got a kick out of taking their parents around New York, especially the Broadway shows. The family of three girls came to New York from Cuba in 1970.
"Nancy was a wonderful person, sister, aunt, godmother and daughter," Ms. Conti said. "She just lived life to the fullest."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 13, 2001.