VISTA, Calif. — Wenceslao “Ben” Perez Velez, D.M.D., 88, passed away on April 18, at the home of his daughter in Vista, Calif.

He was born on Dec. 27, 1925, in Yauco, Puerto Rico, to Andres Nazario and Maria Mercedes Velez Perez. He was one of 15 children.

After attending Yauco High School and serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Puerto Rico. With a strong interest in the medical field, he attended Tufts School of Dental Medicine in Boston, receiving his degree in dental medicine in 1955.

While studying in Boston, he met and married Mary Margaret MacKinnon of Rumford. Along with his wife and their first child, Maria Elena, he later moved back to his hometown of Yauco where he began his dental practice. There he took his practice on the road, often accepting chickens and other items in lieu of cash payments. During his return to island life his second child, Rebecca Lynn, was born. A little more than a year later, Patricia Lorraine, his third girl, arrived. She was given the nickname “Bencita” because of her strong resemblance to Ben.

In 1959, Ben moved back to the states, settled in Mexico, and reestablished his dental practice on Congress Street in Rumford. In the town of Rumford his fourth child, Lorna Elizabeth, was born.

Ben, Margaret, and their four girls moved to Kimball Avenue in Mexico in 1960 and soon they became part of the Kimball Avenue community and parishioners of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church.

To better tolerate Maine’s harsh winters, Ben took up the sport of snow skiing. Later his friends introduced him to the art of hunting and fishing. He spent many enjoyable weekends hunting deer, playing card games and relaxing with friends at Camp Holeb near Jackman. He often played baseball, a game he treasured from his childhood days, and was also a member of the Men’s Monday Night Bowling League at Oxford Lanes.

Following his wife Margaret’s death in 1965, at the urging of friends, he took up golf. The sport he had formerly referred to as a “stupid game” quickly became his passion. He could be seen on courses throughout the state with his four young daughters in tow. While a member of Oakdale Country Club he developed numerous friendships and created countless memories which he later shared with his children and many acquaintances during storytelling sessions.

Late in his life He welcomed the birth of his fifth daughter, Casandra Ines, who was born while he was married to Roberta Gilbert Perez. He often spoke with pride about the joys of fatherhood and the pleasures of being surrounded by his five girls.

He resided in his home on Kimball Avenue and continued his dental practice until his retirement. During those years he often returned to his homeland of Puerto Rico to spend time with his siblings, cousins, friends, nieces, and nephews. He also traveled to several domestic destinations as he wanted to be with his daughters and their families. While living at his Maine home, he enjoyed the comfort of his surroundings as he listened to the music of Trio Los Panchos, Perry Como and several other classic artists.

In 2012 Ben moved to San Marcos, Calif., and later to Vista, Calif., to spend time with three of his girls—Lorna, Patti and Maria, along with his son-in-law, Gary. Together they lovingly cared for Ben until the last moments of his earthly journey.

He is survived by his daughters, Maria Perez of San Diego, Calif., Rebecca Perez of Rumford, Patricia Perez of Vista, Calif., Lorna Perez-Caster and husband, Gary Caster, of San Marcos, Calif., and Casandra Perez of Evergreen, Colo.; grandson Robert Meader II of Yorktown, Va.; step-grandchildren Carissa Caster-Eisele and husband, Tom Eisele and Caitlyn Caster, all of of Los Angeles, Calif.; great-granddaughter Victoria Meader of Rumford; brothers Jose “Cucho,” Arquelio and Victor Perez, all of Puerto Rico, and Ruben Perez and wife, Iraida “Iris,” of Oviedo, Fla.; sisters Julin Perez and Mercedes Munoz of Puerto Rico; sisters-in-law Beverly Desroches and husband, Henry, of Dixfield and Norma Donovan of Epping, N.H.; brothers-in-law Herbert MacKinnon of Rumford and John MacKinnon and wife, Pauline, of Peru; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by his parents; his first wife; siblings Carmen Bibina “Bibi,” Miguel (MIA), Alfonso, Gabriel, Luz Maria, Maria “Yia” Padro, Augustina Bussatti and Andres; father-in-law Peter Everett MacKinnon; mother-in-law Thelma MacKinnon; sisters-in-law Silvia Perez, Carmen Perez, Gladys Perez, Nerida Perez, Ana Perez, Georgina Perez, Violeta Perez, and Carol MacKinnon; brothers-in-law Miguel Ramon Perez, Leonard Donovan, Alfredo Bussatti, Juan Padro, and Ramon “Orlando” Munoz; a dear childhood friend, Neri Lugo and his memorable first-grade teacher, Leonor Figueroa.

Friends are invited to sign the family guest book and share their thoughts, condolences and memories online at www.meaderandson.com.

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