Beatriz Perez-Lopes

Beatriz Perez-Lopes, 55, of East Providence, RI, passed away on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at home, surrounded by family and friends, after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. Beatriz was born in Cartagena, Colombia in 1964, the daughter of Dr. Rafael Perez and Rosario Camargo Perez. She immigrated to Rhode Island at age 7. Beatriz attended East Providence High School, where she was a standout member of her track and field and cheerleading teams. She graduated from Boston University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology and received her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University in 1993.

 

Beatriz’s passion for helping others was evident early. After graduating from BU, she became the Coordinator of Peer Education and Training at Dimock Health Center in Roxbury MA, counseling youth about domestic violence and sexual health. At Columbia’s School of Public Health, Beatriz served as an Officer of Research. She held positions investigating physicians’ cancer screening practices; women’s attitudes towards HIV testing and counseling services; body composition during pregnancy; and the impact of trauma on women in recovery from substance abuse.

 

After graduating from Columbia, Beatriz worked at the Rhode Island Department of Health from 1995–2016. She initially served as the Director of the Violence Against Women Program, later becoming the Manager of the Violence and Injury Prevention Program where she led the development of Rhode Island’s Suicide Prevention program. She administered and authored numerous CDC, NIH, and other grants in the areas of rape prevention and education; youth suicide prevention and early intervention; and sexual violence prevention and education. Beatriz did extensive research on the roles of violence, tobacco use, and seatbelt use in the lives of Rhode Islanders. She worked to reduce injuries in schools, prevent falls in the elderly population, increase understanding of the socio-demographic variations for suicide prevention, and have gun violence recognized and treated as a public health issue.

 

Beatriz authored and coauthored numerous publications and presentations related to violence, abuse, and injury prevention including the chapter Childhood Sexual Abuse and AIDS in the book Women at Risk: Issues in the Primary Prevention of AIDS (Ann O’Leary, Ph.D. and Loretta Sweet Jemmott, R.N., Ph.D. eds. 1995) for The Community Research Group at the New York Psychiatric Institute. She received the 2007 Women of Excellence Award for Social Service sponsored by the Women’s Center of Rhode Island and is a 2016 inductee into the Day One Rhode Island Hall of Fame for her advocacy for sexual violence prevention. Her tireless efforts in community outreach for public health awareness and violence and injury prevention led to the creation of programs that improve the lives of countless Rhode Islanders every day.

 

Beatriz’s family, friends, and colleagues will remember her as a vibrant, free spirit who was authentic, passionate, and lit up every room. She was a devoted mother, loving wife, and generous and caring friend who always was actively present in the lives of people dear to her. She was so loved. Beatriz enjoyed walking, yoga, and belly dancing; a thoughtful debate; a good shot of tequila; and a big hug. She was an amazing hugger.

 

Beatriz will always be in our hearts.

 

Beatriz is survived by her husband Chris and their two sons, Christopher and Noah, her mother, Rosario, sister Nora Perez Camargo, brothers Hernando Perez, and Guillermo Perez, and many loving nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

 

A private memorial was held. If you’d like to make a gift in Beatriz’s memory, please sponsor Nora and Susan and #TeamGilda at the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1, 2020. Donations will go to Gilda’s Club NYC, which provides free support, health and lifestyle information, and empowerment to cancer patients and their loved ones. You’ll find the GoFundMe page, “In Beatriz’s memory – support #TeamGilda” here: https://gf.me/u/x8dh2y.


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48 entries.
Mike, Felicia, and Faith Moniz from Riverside wrote on June 19, 2020 at 6:38 pm:
We are going to miss you very much Beatriz. You were the embodiment of pure joy and love and we are so greatful for the time we had with you. We know you are up in heaven dancing.
Jonathan A. Calvo from Miami wrote on June 15, 2020 at 8:01 pm:
In growing up with the Perez family, I had the pleasure to know Beatriz as if she was an older sister / cousin. Her parents were my Godparents—our families were close as we both were first generation Colombian Americans, living the American dream...Bee was a very outgoing, intelligent, witty, caring individual who just lit up the room wherever she was in your presence. You don’t find many people like that... My sincerest condolences to the entire family for their loss...I have beautiful memories. Beatriz, we love you and pray that your vibrant Spirit is in a better place. Con amor, la familia Calvo.
Katharyn Zwicker from Augusta wrote on June 14, 2020 at 12:21 am:
Class. Sass. Pizzazz. Belly laugh. And a dedication to public health that crisscrossed the country. What an honor to know and work with you Bea. Thank you for always being there for us. This Mainer is all the better for knowing you. 💪🏻❤️🙏🏻
Erica Streit-Kaplan from NEWTON wrote on June 13, 2020 at 10:42 pm:
When I heard the news, my first word was "heartbroken." I hadn't seen Beatriz in 8 years, but her generosity and grace are still with me. I loved working with her through the Northeast Injury Prevention Network - her dedication and passion inspired our whole group, but it's her energy and warmth that I'll remember most.
David Hughett from Riverside wrote on June 12, 2020 at 10:47 pm:
Chris and family, My deepest condolences on the passing of Beatriz, I'll always remember her, she was one of the nicest and most positive people I've ever met. She truly was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside..Sincerely ,David.
Ray & Tracey Alves from Warwick wrote on June 12, 2020 at 9:42 pm:
Chris and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Beatriz was such a beautiful person that we were so lucky to get to know and love over the years. We cherish all of the moments we spent together creating so many great memories. Her positive attitude and smile always affected those around her even if they only just met her. She will always be in our hearts. Love and hugs to Bea and to all who knew her. We will miss her dearly.
Arn Lisnoff from North Scituate wrote on June 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm:
So very sad. Beatriz was a wonderful colleague who always brought her energy, insight, intelligence, decency and kindness to everything she did. Condolences to her family and to all who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Roberta Chevoya from Smithfield RI wrote on June 12, 2020 at 6:58 pm:
I am shocked and saddened to learn that Beatriz has passed away. I worked with her at the RI Dept of Health. She always had a smile on her face and went out of her way to treat others in a special way. My deepest sympathy to her family. May she rest in peace.
Marilou Freitas from Johnston wrote on June 12, 2020 at 6:34 pm:
Such sad news. Beatriz was a young and vibrant woman who loved her family and friends. I worked with Beatriz in the Health Department. She was always upbeat and helpful.May she rest in peace.
Helen Drew from Richmond wrote on June 12, 2020 at 6:17 pm:
I had the pleasure of working with Beatrice at the Department Of Health. She will always be remembered as a warm energetic person who brightened the day of those who had the good fortune to work with her. Love and condolences to her family.
Florentine Fragoso from Apopka wrote on June 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm:
My heart goes out to you and your family. I lived Beatriz so much. She was a free spirited person full of live and kind words. She lit up the room were ever she went. Chris you are such a special husband who adored his wife and loved everything about her. She lived her boys that’s for sure. I’m sending hugs and kisses your way. Love you. Cousin Tina
Maria-Luisa Vallejo from North Providence wrote on June 12, 2020 at 4:05 pm:
I met Beatriz at the Department of Health. Being Hispanic, we always talked in Spanish. We were working on the same floor so it was easy to go see her and have fun. She always laughed and we would always exchanged stories. Once she came with a dress I loved. I complimented her and she said: -Lindo, no?- I wanted to know where she had found it. She said she could not remembered. The week after and in my cubicle I found the dress all wrapped up. I went over saying: NO! I would get one... but she said now it is all yours. I still have it and when I knew this sad news, I went to fetch her dress and put it on...I will always remember her smile, trying to get her make-up in the morning because she had to make breakfast for her kids and having a laugh. Unforgettable! I will miss you and from wherever you are, look at me, see me with your dress! Always in my heart!
Kerri ONeill from West Hollywood , CA wrote on June 12, 2020 at 3:19 pm:
This is very sad news. Bea was way too young and such an impressive woman. She was inspirational in high school and no surprise she went on to accomplish amazing things. A women of purpose who left us far too early. My condolences to her family and friends. Was a privilege to know her and go to school with her. A beautiful soul - RIP.
Emma Reynoso from Providence wrote on June 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm:
I met Beatriz when I first started as a temp at RIDOH back in 2007; she was one of my supervisors and through her, I learned about domestic violence prevention and how to help women living in such environment. She was very passionate and dedicated. Beatriz's smile will always be in my heart. Every time we bumped into each other in a hallway or the elevators, it was the same greeting: "Hola preciosa!" Now it's hard to say: "Adios preciosa! Descanza en paz."
Carol Hall-Walker from Cranston wrote on June 12, 2020 at 11:38 am:
Beatriz will always be in my heart. She always had a big smile and lifted the spirits of others when she walked in the room. May you rest in peace Bea. Love - Carol HW
Paul Rodrigues from East Providence wrote on June 12, 2020 at 11:09 am:
Shocked and saddened by this great Townie loss . Bea, may you rest in eternal peace, God bless you and your family. I will forever remember our high school day laughs and reminiscing at our reunions ! You are one of the best ! P-Rod 😢
Toni-Maria Spencer from East Providence wrote on June 12, 2020 at 11:07 am:
I met Beatriz when she attended E.R. Martin Junior High. She was a standout student and a great personality. I was fortunate to be her Algebra teacher and her cheerleading advisor. My condolences to her family. I am so sorry for your loss. Will keep her in my prayers.
Jude (Amerantes) Evans from Gilbert Az wrote on June 12, 2020 at 9:40 am:
I also knew Bea from High School, always had that infectious SMILE! Lots of great memories of her in high school, cheerleading & school spirit. It was incredible to read what she has done in her career & for all the humans she has touched with her kindness, knowledge & incredible spirit...... lots of love & support to her family & friends that will miss her..... may her memories & legacy live on💔💔💔
Betsy Perry from Riverside wrote on June 12, 2020 at 9:34 am:
My sincere condolences to Bea’s family for your difficult loss. Our community lost a true Townie. Bea was a force of nature. She lit up a room with her smile, took a genuine interest in others, and was such a positive presence. I remember when she was expecting her son and very busy working at the RI Department of Health, while getting things ready for the baby’s rapidly approaching arrival, and she still made time to keep our high-spirited 20th reunion committee focused and in line! She will be missed. Bless you Beatriz and may you know you will always be remembered for your strength and beauty.
Rosemary Kinder Parisi from Marion MA wrote on June 12, 2020 at 9:26 am:
I was very saddened to learn of her passing and I'm very sorry for the loss to you all. I remember when she arrived in our classroom at Tristam Burges Elementary. We instantly became friends. She was so full of life and was always kind to all. As our Sr. Class President of East Providence High Class of 83, she represented our class honorably and organized some of the best reunions! My friend "Beattie", you will be missed.