Matushka Mary Perez

Matushka Mary Perez
Matushka Mary Perez

Funeral services for Matushka Mary Perez, beloved wife of Priest Dimitri Perez, Rector of Holy Apostles Mission, Vancouver, WA, will be celebrated at the Church of the Annunciation, 13515 SE Rusk Road, Milwaukie, OR on Thursday and Friday, February 15 and 16, 2018.

Matushka Mary fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, February 12.

The Funeral Vigil will be celebrated on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The reading of the Psalms will follow and continue until 8:30 a.m. on Friday, at which time the Hours will be chanted. The Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:00 a.m., followed by a mercy meal. Interment will be at Saint John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery, Goldendale, WA on Friday afternoon.

Born Heidi Mary Perez on August 8, 1971 in Rochester, MI to Timothy and Diane Harvey, she and her family moved to Eagle River, AK, where she grew up. She graduated from high school in 1989. In 1991, she met the future Father Dimitri [Erik] Perez, whom she married on July 11, 1993, after which they moved to Santa Cruz, CA. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCSC in June 2000. In June 2002, the Perezes moved once again, this time to Pennsylvania, where Erik enrolled in Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA in July 2005, taking the name Dimitri, while Heidi took the name Mary for her patron saint, Mary Magdalene.

During their years in Pennsylvania, Mary pursued her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Child Psychology at Marywood University, Scranton, PA, graduating in 2005. Later that year, Matushka Mary and Father Dimitri moved to Portland, OR, where they planted Holy Apostles Mission, which they have been serving for the past 13 years.

In June 2007, Matushka Mary entered private practice as a licensed psychologist associate, specializing in work with children, teens, and their families. She helped families address issues, including ADHD; academic, social, and behavioral difficulties; parenting support and strategies; anxiety, depression, trauma, and divorce; co-parenting; and blended-family concerns. She had many clients, and they all loved her. In June 2008, Father Dimitri and Matushka Mary adopted their beloved son Benjamin John.

In August of 2016, three days after her 45th birthday — after being sick for well over a year with various lung issues — Matushka Mary was diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. She was diligent in trying all avenues to healing. She underwent various forms of natural treatment and conventional treatments; her fighting spirit surprised everyone. Even when she was exhausted and in tremendous pain, Matushka Mary went to watch her son, Benjamin, play soccer and take lessons in tae kwon do, swimming, and violin. She homeschooled him until the time of her repose.

All who knew Matushka Mary can attest to her incredible dedication and love for God and the holy Orthodox Faith. She continued to attend every service, especially those of the great feasts which she especially loved. She loved reading the lives of the saints and would often send out daily quotes from those accounts to people in her parish, her family and friends. Her heart was soft and gentle, and yet she had a fierce love for God and her family and friends. In the few days preceding her repose, her husband and mother and father read the Psalms while she slept. Hours before her respose, she received Holy Communion and anointing with holy oil, and the prayers for departure were read. Later that night, she was held by her mother as she took her last breath, Father Dimitri sitting by her side.

In addition to her loving husband, Father Dimitri, and beloved son Benjamin John, she is survived by her parents, Timothy and Diane Harvey; her sister, Michele Sparrow and brother-in-law Isaac Sparrow and their two sons, Seraphim and Simeon; her sister, Marisa Steiger and brother-in-law Jeff Steiger and their four children, Elias, Emilia, Noah, and Josiah; and her mother-in-law, Earlene Perez. She is preceded in death by her father-in-law, Lou Perez.

May Matushka Mary’s memory be eternal!