Remembering Zeferina Perez

 Zeferina Perez

 Sad News:

Long time supporter and UFW organizer Zeferina Perez passed away on September 9, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. 

Zeferina’s son Angel passed away on 6/28/09 and her daughter Linda, passed away on 8/15/09.  Zeferina  suffered a stroke on  8/19/09 after her daughter passed away and was in   Merced Nursing & Rehabilitation , but  was taken home by her daughter Maria last Friday, 9/4/09. She took ill on 9/9/09 and was taken to the hospital where she passed away at 11:00 a.m.

Zeferina  was a long time organizer for the UFW and was always ready to do whatever she was asked to help the union. She worked in many campaigns too numerous to mention here.
(Click to read a Jan. 2009 article about Zeferina)


7:00 P.M., THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
13145 Le Grand Rd.,  LeGrand, CA

10:00 A.M., FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
13145 Le Grand Rd.,  LeGrand, CA
We ask that you please share your personal memories of  Zeferina with us by leaving a “reply” below. If you have a photos of Zepherina, please share them by sending them to

May She Rest in Peace ┼

Zeferina was a great warrior. She had a tremendous passion, faith and work ethic. Zeferina’s dedication and commitment was an inspiration to me. I will always remember her contagious smile, her Si Se Puede attitude and her tireless efforts on behalf of the union and farm workers.

Que Viva Zeferina Perez!

— UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez

Cesar was always embarrassed being singled out for praise because he knew there were so many others who made great sacrifices for La Causa. These were men and women who went mostly unrecognized but who also found meaning in their lives by selflessly giving themselves for others. Zeferina was one of those very special servants. She labored relentlessly in her quiet and simple ways, never seeking credit or fame. May Zeferina now enjoy the rewards she has so richly earned. Que en paz descanse.

–Helen Chavez and the Chavez Family


16 Responses to Remembering Zeferina Perez

  1. Mario Brito says:

    Dona Zefe,

    I will miss you so much. I remeber how much you taught me about life and the movement. I will always love you.


  2. Maria Martinez says:

    zeferina Perez was great woman she work in 40 acres with my Husband Lupe Martinez as organizer(Organisodora) and at the time I was doing Services, I remember Zeferina was good asking for donation for event or campaings that U.F.W had in 40 acres,or any place, that the U.F.W. send her.she always very poliate,she had a lot love for everyone, she love her union , with all heart heart. and she will always be very dear too me .I will always remember her with love and affiction may rest in peace

  3. Jocelyn Sherman says:

    Dona Zeferina is one of the people from my earliest memories in the UFW. No job was too small for her. If La Causa needed her, she was there. She was one of the warmest most giving people I can think of. She taught me so much, not just organizing & la Causa, but how to be a good person. She will be sorely missed. Viva Dona Zeferina!

  4. Lupe Larios says:

    Doña Zeferina’s energy and commitment for the movement knew no bounds. I saw this first hand when we organized the March for the Gov’s Signature. She was supposed to help the first couple of days but she joined us for the full ten days, working late into the evenings behind the scenes organizing support and getting donations in the different towns. She was and will continue to be an inspiration for us.

  5. Julio Estrada says:

    Mí querida Zeferina: Cuando yo me comunique a la UFW en Delano, CA por primera vez en 1994, ella contesto mi llamada y me trato como si yo la hubiera conocido por toda mi vida. Yo me quede sorprendido de la forma que ella trataba a un desconocido. Después que me ingrese a la UFW como voluntario en 1994, empecé a ir a los campos con Zeferina. Ella me encelló como organizar, como comunicarme con los trabajadores y los mas importante de como yo tenía que saber las leyes que protegían a los trabajadores Campesinos Bajo Contrato y Sin Contrato. Ella fue una persona que me motivo para luchar por los Trabajadores y hacer toda clase de trabajo en la Unión. Mi Compañera Zeferina te voy a extrañar mucho. Tu distes muchos años de tu vida por tus prójimos sin preguntar porque y sin quejarte de tu cansancio. Maria y Yo te queremos mucho y te damos las gracias por haber sido una persona con un gran corazón, una mujer valiente y sin miedo a nada. Hasta pronto Compañera Zeferina. ¡Si Se Puede!

  6. Erica Lomeli- UFW Foundation says:

    Fue un honor haber conocido a Doña Zeferina. Mi recuerdo de ella que no olvidare fue nuestro viaje a Washington D.C. En Octubre del 2007 Doña Zeferina acompaño a 100 trabajadores del campo para hablar con los congresistas sobre la necesidad de una ley de inmigración que ayudara a los campesinos y sus familias. Fue un viaje muy duro, largo, e intenso y durante todo eso ella siempre mostro su fuerza, no solamente física, pero también emocional por luchar en el movimiento. Yo le decía a ella y a sus compañeras (Atanasia, Carolina, y Josefina) !WOW como tiene energía! Y ella con una sonrisa contestaba…esto no es nada, lo vamos a lograr! Estuvimos enfrente de la Casa Blanca donde platicamos sobre el amor por la justicia, fue una hermosa inspiración y también fue muy divertido! Doña Zeferina y su familia están en mis oraciones ¡Gracias por su dedicación a la lucha!

  7. Julianna Uranday - Osorno says:

    Zeferina what a great woman. I remember her from working at the office in Delano, at the 40 Acres, & working with my mom Esther Uranday. Zeferina was always so good to everyone. And she was a hard working woman, she would drive from her home in LeGrand to Delano everyday for work, and still in between that she would still drive. We were always concerned about her. But if the Cause needed her she was always there, no matter what time of day it was, or what needed to be done, she never said no. She had so much love for the Union, and for everyone,and was always so caring. She was always so loving to my Son Eric, when she would she him she would always give him a big hug, and would always bring him a jar of her Salsa, she new Eric loved her Salsa. She was always good to my grandmother Fita, she would dance with her at the office and my grandmother would dance with her, and she would laugh. I can picture that. And I bet you that is what they are doing at this very moment. Zeferina I will truly miss you, but you will always have a place in my heart, and I will never forget you. Viva Dona Zeferina!

  8. Lori Huerta de Leon says:

    Zeferina Vive!

    In reading the tributes from so many who knew and loved Zeferina, her life, love and commitment, to social justice lives in each person she touched.

    I have known Zeferina for more than thirty-five years.
    She was always selfless, ready and willing to do anything asked of her for La Causa! She also was one of the first to be presente at any civic action, and although her English was limited, she had the courage to face the legislators and demand justice for farm workers.

    Always with a positive attitude and lots of love. She opened her home and her heart to many of us. A true treasure that will be missed by all that knew her.

    Viva Zeferina!

    Lori Huerta de Leon

  9. leonidas lantz says:

    May God rest her soul.

  10. Lucy Boutte says:

    Zeferina, you go as many great men & women “de la causa” have gone before you. I can only try to imagine the great rejoicing welcomed you as you entered more fully into the “eternal”. You were always a women of faith in the power of the individual, now you may rest assured that you fought the good fight, you never waivered, and now you reached the end. Yet I believe, as I think you do, that for believers, their is no end and death in this human experience is merely entering into the glorious next existence with the Almighty, who loves and embraces all his creatures. Peace and give the UFW handshake & a hug to my good friend Gilbert, all the rest of our companeros and of course our jefe, Cesar.

  11. Karen May says:

    I will always treasure my memory of Zeferina, who was instantly warm and welcoming when I first joined the UFW as a young organizer. Zeferina was my roomate on a campaign in the Bay Area, and while we couldn’t always understand eachother’s words, we communicated heart to heart — her smile and laugh were infectious. She had that inner joy, a love of life and the cause she was committed to, that made her shine and inspire others to work as hard as she did. Gracias, Zeferina, for all of your tireless work over the years, and for the inspiration and joy you brought to us all. Que Viva Zeferina!

  12. Esther Uranday says:

    I will always remember Zeferina for always being there for the Union whenever she was needed. Her tireless efforts in helping the farm workers will be remembered always. The workers would do whatever she wanted. She always took all of the hard core union viejitos everywhere for the marches. Estos eran los que nunca se cansaban y estaban dispuestos a dar su vida por la Causa de la Union, igual que ella. Zeferina, siempre viviras en nuestros corazones por tus esfuerzos encansables. VIVA ZEFERINA!

  13. Abby Rivera says:

    Jorge had to meet with workers for a contract ratification in Livingston late one evening so I tagged along for the company. Zeferina was not taking part in the meeting but she had already put in a long day’s work at the office. She offered me coffee.It was nice talking and laughing with her. When we finished our coffee we started washing the dirty cups and others that had accunalated in the sink during. Meanwhile the meeting dragged on and I made the remark that a woman’s work is never done. Not the dishwashing mind you, I told her: but her having to stay late until the end of the meeting to lock up the union office. We smiled at each other because we made the connection without having to say it aloud about how our roles as women in the union had really taken us to a place we never could have imagined. Doing the dishes was just a nice break! Later I hears she retired and I couldn’t picture it- she was a truly spunky Chavista organizer. My prayers to her family that has had so much heartbreaking loss of late. Viva!

  14. Giev Kashkooli says:

    Dona Zeferina’s energy, will, sense of humor, and commitment modeled leadership every day. Like for many people, Dona Zeferina taught me how to take access. I remember riding to take access one of my first days working w/the UFW at 5:00 am, in a van full of people I did not know. She sat silently, praying, smiling. Then, when we took access, she was a woman transformed, loudly ordering a foreman around — the foreman mistakenly believed he was in charge. Zeferina inspired and taught me every time I got to be with her- in small delegations, at rallies in Sacramento, on long marches. I will miss you.

  15. Luisa Lopez says:

    Doña Zefe,
    Mujer valiente, Mujer activa, Mujer leal a su fe, Mujer de buen corazon, Mujer maestra, Mujer madre, Mujer de paz, Mujer lider, Mujer que siempre contesto al llamado… Mujer de Dios! Gracias Doña Zefe por toda su gracia. Descanse en paz!
    He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces …
    (Isaiah 25:8)

  16. Maria Duran-Soto says:

    Zeferina was and will always be the greates woman in the world. I went to a couple events with her and my mom. Zeferina love my mom and her children so much. When my mom was looking for a home to rent, Zeferina offer us her home in merced and she moved to Le Grand, and for that i will alway be greatfull for.
    Thank you Zeferina for all your help and love that you brought to our family. I will forever keep you in my memory and my heart.

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