Alex Perez, 71, Formerly Of Amarillo

Amarillo Globe-News – June 29, 2001

Alex Perez, 71, formerly of Amarillo, died Wednesday, June 27, 2001, in Dallas.

Vigil services will be at 7 p.m. today in Schooler Funeral Home, Brentwood Chapel, 4100 S. Georgia St. Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church with the Rev. Rex Nichols officiating. Burial will be in Llano Cemetery.

Mr. Perez was born Nov. 11, 1929, in Lelia Lake. He was raised by his grandparents, Carmen Perez and Maria Negrete. Alex grew up in Amarillo and attended Price Academy High School and Amarillo College.

He and his wife, Mary, were married Dec. 17, 1950, in Amarillo. They have three sons, Alex, Mark, and Danny, along with six grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Alex is best known for his career as a professional wrestler. Prior to becoming a pro wrestler, Alex began his professional life as a catcher in semi-pro baseball. He then became a railroad brakeman with Santa Fe Railway and a deputy sheriff in Potter County before a fascinating 28-year stint as a professional wrestler.

Being inside the ring was nothing new to Alex. He boxed in his youth, receiving the titles of Light-Heavyweight and Middleweight Golden Gloves Champion in Texas. It was pro wrestling, however, that brought him fame. In fact, Alex was recognized as a National Heavyweight Champion, while wrestling in Tennessee.

Alex wrestled in a league with some of the best-known wrestlers in his time, including Dory Funk, Killer Karl Kox, Lou Thesz, Fritz Von Erich, and Andre the Giant to mention just a few. His career also fulfilled his passion for travel by taking him from coast-to-coast and as far away as Japan.

Alex even had a role in a movie Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone. In the film, Alex wrestled against the main character, playing his favorite role the bad guy.

His start in pro wrestling came from some of Amarillos best-known characters. Alex started through his relationships with promoters, Dory Detton and Doc Sarpolis. After Alex had made a name for himself in boxing, the two promoters approached him about becoming a professional wrestler. It was a match.

Alex usually wrestled under his own name, but also can be remembered as El Diablo, El Toro, and The Zebra Kid.

Alex retired from the sport at the age of 49 and retired as a security guard from Asarco Inc., in 1992.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Perez of Dallas; sons, Alex Perez Jr. of Round Rock and Mark Perez and Danny Perez, both of Dallas; brothers, Pete Villasenor of El Paso, and Manuel Perez, BeBe Villasenor and Manny Perez Villasenor, all of Amarillo; sisters, Marcelina Flores, Marta Olivarez, Mary Parrie, Tenche Reyes and Gloria Pineda, all of Amarillo; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

The family suggests memorials be to the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 N.W. Ninth Ave., Miami, FL 33136; or Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 1210 E. 11th Ave., Amarillo, TX 79102.

The family will be at 1223 Lamar St.

He was a loving husband and father.

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