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Mr. Jesus Perez-Santalla

Obituary for Mr. Jesus Perez-Santalla

March 8, 1937 - January 18, 2018
Cuernavaca, Mexico and Mountainside, New Jersey | Age 80

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather Jesus Perez-Santalla Dies at age 80



Jesus Perez-Santalla left this world on January 18, 2018 in peace after a long and productive life well lived. He was known as "Papi"" to his six children, "Abuelo" to his 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, "Jesus" to his business colleagues and "Chuchi" to his lifelong loves and friends.

Born in Havana Cuba on March 8, 1937, Chuchi married Virginia Fiallo in 1959 and shortly thereafter, in 1960, had no choice but to flee the only home they'd ever known to the United States for temporary refuge from Communist dictator Fidel Castro with their newborn son Javier de Jesus and only the clothes on their back.

While in Miami, they welcomed their second son Guillermo Miguel and quickly realized their return to their beloved homeland was never going to be and applied for and were granted political asylum. They moved to New York City where Jesus worked for Goya Foods and La Cena Foods as they welcomed son Carlos Alberto, daughter Laura Margarita and son Eduardo Enrique.

He went on to work for Progresso Foods in Jersey City, NJ in 1968 and realized that a move to the suburbs was imminent with five young children who needed space to grow. They settled in Mountainside, NJ in 1970 and never looked back. 6 years later, they welcomed their sixth child daughter Rebecca Maria.

After leaving Progresso Foods, he went on to work for New York Life Insurance before moving on to the Finance Industry in NYC where he rose to fame at companies such as Deak Perera, Piano Remittance Corp. and Del Cristo & Company.

In 1987, Jesus broke off to form his brainchild RIAEnvia (now known as Ria Money Transfer worldwide). It was his dream to help immigrants send money back home to their families and it was realized on a massive scale. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush chose Jesus' RIAEnvia store front in Union City, NJ, as the area's most prominent location in which to show his support of the Hispanic community while on the campaign trail, generously providing a meeting and photo with its founder.

Jesus and Virginia divorced in 1992. Jesus remarried in 1993 to Elena Goycoechea and moved to Tenafly, NJ. 

In 1997, Jesus sold RIAEnvia, staying on as a consultant and moved to Coral Gables, FL to be closer to his only brother, Avelino. One dream and numerous storefronts later, Ria Money Transfer now boasts over 310,000 locations in 150 countries worldwide.

Chuchi and Elena ultimately decided to retire in Cuernavaca, Mexico where they enjoyed a beautiful life together with their beloved dogs while Chuchi spent his time fulfillng his lifelong dream to compile and publish a collection of his favorite words of wisdom. In 2012, XX1 CENTURY: Selection of the Most Appropriate Aphorisms, Maxims & Quotations was released under his pseudonym "Jaypes." 

Jesus was a strong-willed man, a voracious reader of philosophy, history and religion and a collector of some of the world's finest Hispanic art. People who met him felt special. He could bring out the best in them. He appreciated and honored hard work. He loved his family, he loved life and, though he retired in Mexico, he loved America with all his heart.

Jesus is survived by his wife, Elena; his 6 children, Javier de Jesus (Donna), Guillermo Miguel (Deborah), Carlos Alberto (Marlene), Laura Margarita Perez Vitollo (Stephen), Eduardo Enrique (Francine), Rebecca Maria Lorenson (Michael); his 18 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and his first wife, Virginia. He was predeceased by his older brother Avelino Perez and his parents Florinda and Avelino Perez.

A funeral mass will be offered Saturday, February 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 300 Central Avenue, Mountainside NJ. There are no calling hours. His cremains are to be interred in St Theresa´s Cemetery in Summit, NJ.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, please donate whatever you can to the poor and those in need. Jesus preferred making personal direct donations (bypassing organized charities). He was especially sensitive to the needs of children in lower income schools.

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Gray Funeral Home

318 E. Broad Street
Westfield, NJ 07090
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