The Juneau man who died in the El Salvador earthquake planned the family visit for months, said a friend.
Dan Roberts, head of maintenance for Juneau's Alaskan & Proud market, knew Federico Perez, 45, well. He had been Perez' supervisor when Perez worked there for two years, until about six months ago, he said.
"Federico wanted to take this trip last year but personal circumstances delayed his trip all the way until now," Roberts said. "He wanted to go in September, then in November. And now his entire family is gone."
"He was a wonderful man, a hard worker," said Vern Eatinger, assistant manager at A&P.
The quake struck shortly after noon Saturday with a magnitude of 7.6. It shook loose a hillside above Santa Tecla, the San Salvador suburb where Perez was visiting his family. Also dead are his mother, father, aunts, nieces and cousins.
Perez worked for A&P from July 1998 to June 2000, said Laurie Elberson, payroll clerk with A&P's Ketchikan office. She did not know when he first came to the United States, but he had become a citizen.
Perez worked in Petersburg as a custodian before moving to Juneau three or four years ago, said his son Eric Federico Hernandez.
"He was a good father, a very nice friend," said Hernandez, 22, an employee at the mocha stand at the Alaskan & Proud market. "He tried to help people whenever they needed it. He was there for anybody to talk about things and he gave good advice."
Perez was hired away by Carrs, said Roberts of A&P.
"He began working part-time at Carrs Quality Center last April, and then went full-time there as head janitor. He was very good-natured, quiet. He did an excellent job, showed up for work every day. He was smart; you didn't have to show him things twice," said Roberts, who was sorry to see Perez leave for another job.
Marcus Garcia, Federico Perez' brother, plans to fly to El Salvador on Wednesday. To arrange the decent burial he has in mind for his relatives, Garcia will need to purchase 10 coffins, which are in short supply in the area. The family members are buried in a mass grave.
To collect funds for Garcia's undertaking, Carrs manager Leanne Ng started a bank account this morning. Funds may be deposited at the branch of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in the Carrs store at 3033 Vintage Boulevard.
"Federico worked night crew and a lot of (Carrs) employees probably didn't even know him because he was gone by 7 in the morning," Ng said. "But my night crew (of eight or nine) is devastated."
Federico Perez leaves a second son, Rene Hernandez, 18, who lives in California, Eric Hernandez said.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at email@example.com.
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