Funeral Mass for Juan Antonio Herrera Pérez,

Juan Antonio Herrera Pérez, 96, of Knoxville, passed away peacefully on Nov. 14 after 24 days of coping with a broken heart from the loss of his wife of 63 years, Gladys.

Mr. Herrera was born on June 13, 1926, in Caracas, Venezuela, as the oldest of six children to Jesús María Herrera and Dolores Pérez.

Mr. Herrera, who had a passion for reading and learning, married the love of his life, Gladys de las Mercedes Ball Díaz, on Dec. 19, 1959, in Caracas. She passed away Oct. 21 at age 87.

He had a long and successful career as a corporate accountant, and after three attempts he finally retired in 1995.

In 1997, the Herreras sold all their possessions in Caracas and moved to Knoxville to join their children and grandchildren. Mr. Herrera attended the Spanish-language Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and together with his wife began fostering a well-knit Hispanic Catholic community.

He wrote a monthly column for La Cosecha, the Spanish-language newspaper of the Diocese of Knoxville, and, along with his wife, conducted countless pre-baptismal preparation classes and provided pre-marriage counseling to more than sixty couples.

In 2003, he became a proud American citizen.

His 63-year marriage to Gladys served as a beacon and example to all who witnessed their constant companionship, steadfast affection, and unwavering respect for each other. Together, they were both bedrock foundation and cornerstone, serving as godparents, counselors, sponsors, witnesses, and ministers of their faith.

In 2015, Mr. Herrera earned an Advanced Biblical Studies degree from the University of Dallas School of Ministry.

He is survived by his youngest sister, Cecilia Herrera; son Dr. Juan Antonio Herrera and wife Kim Suzanne Herrera; daughter Pérsides Mercedes Zambrano and husband Angel Eduardo Zambrano; grandchildren Lucas Antonio Herrera and wife Katherine Brink Herrera, Mercedes Elena Zambrano, Maximiliano Antonio Herrera and wife Dr. Erika Love Wild Herrera, Angel Ignacio Zambrano, and Dr. Noelle Daun Herrera; great-grandchildren Eli Antonio, Wilder Antonio, and Isabel Brinkley; beloved nieces and nephews; and all of his dear godchildren and many friends who are still with us to carry on his memory.

A funeral Mass for Mr. Herrera was celebrated on Nov. 19, with interment following. Donations of time, talent, or treasure in Mr. Herrera’s honor may be made to Sacred Ground Hospice House at

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