We stand behind our reputation and will continue to serve our community with the values instilled by our funeral directors.
How We Began
19 years ago Robert Perez was working as a paralegal at a law firm when his grandmother died. Though grief-stricken, Perez and his sister had to deal with making the arrangements for the funeral. The funeral turned out well, and the experience left Perez wondering if he was on the right career track. He recalled the deaths of other family members and how he'd felt drawn to comfort people when they needed it the most. "I found such an interest in this business," the Moorpark resident said. "It's just something that was a calling." People in the industry told him he wouldn't make much money as a mortician, and, with a wife and child at home, he'd better stick with the legal profession. Still, the urge was strong. He began working nights and weekends at mortuaries while keeping his day job at the law firm. The move upset his parents, who had put him through school to become a paralegal. His wife, Pauline, threatened to leave him—she didn't want to be a mortician's wife. But Perez stuck with it, and in April 2006 he left his $5,000a-month job with the law firm to earn $1,500 a month as a part time mortician. Pauline, who was eight months pregnant with their second child at the time, had by then realized how much Perez enjoyed working with grieving families, and she, too, had become involved in the business by making keepsake videos. "He's got a good heart for the families," Pauline, 30, said of her husband. "It's been the happiest I've seen him." "I trusted in God, and I felt it was meant for me," Perez said. Perez's parents and the rest of his family had also come around by then and supported his new career. Four months later, Perez partnered with a Simi Valley funeral home to open Rose Perez Funeral Home and Cremation in a 500-square-foot office on Mobil Avenue in Camarillo. In 2008, the business moved to a 5,000-square-foot building on Del Norte Road on Camarillo's west side. We now occupy 7500 square feet in the Del Norte Building.
The Perez family remodeled the interior, painted the walls sage green, tiled the entry with travertine and granite inlay, and installed frosted-glass interior doors that allow light to stream in. Perez wanted a homelike atmosphere for his funeral home, one that made all members of the family, including children, feel comfortable. Custom-blended herbal tea and gourmet coffee are always on hand. In February, Perez went solo and changed the name to Perez Family Funeral Home. "It's a family affair—we see each other every day," Perez said. Pauline works in the office each morning and returns in the afternoon, usually with 5-year-old Rayline and 2-year-old Robert Jr. in tow. The children play in a back room or watch TV on the projection screen in the reception room until it's time to go home. Pauline's brother, a former auto parts salesman who'd at first said Perez was crazy for going into the mortuary business, is an advance planning consultant for the funeral home. Perez's father and fatherinlaw transport deceased persons to the home, and his mother, sister and brother help organize funeral services. "We're a close family, very close," Perez said. "This is our home; we're here all the time." Perez is free to run the funeral home the way he sees fit. Clients can get in touch with him 24 hours a day, Perez said. He has the phone line from the funeral home transferred to his cellphone in the evenings. He spends as much time with clients as they need, whether they're purchasing a simple cremation or a full-service funeral, he said. Clients aren't pressured to buy high-end funeral services or rushed out of his office, he said. "It's not my style. . . . Everybody gets the same comfort no matter what the services." Bereavement counselor Christina Portillo said Perez allows her the freedom to deliver the kind of service she knows grieving families want and need. "We're here to listen," said Portillo, an ordained minister who likes to follow up with families after the funeral service to make sure their emotional needs are being met. Perez offers his clients flexibility and choice. They can fill out burial or cremation forms online and meet with Perez in his office or in their home. Some families so appreciate his empathetic approach, he said, they've invited him and his family to their weddings, birthday parties and other special events. "I'm doing what I want to do, and I'm enjoying it," Perez said. "I could not imagine doing anything else."