Evelyn Peralta’s eulogy for her husband, much like the New York politician’s life, was brief yet deeply impactful.
The weeping widow, standing Tuesday before more than 1,000 mourners inside a Queens church, hailed her husband Jose’s unfailing work ethic and his ability to connect with people until his shocking death last week at age 47.
“Though I am his wife, I am not the only one suffering from his loss,” she told the crowd inside the St. Joan of Arc Church in Jackson Heights. “I shared him with this community. But I understood and came to terms with it, because it was his passion.”
The mourners exploded in applause when Evelyn Peralta mentioned her husband’s work on behalf of the as-yet-unpassed state DREAM Act.
“I hope that the New York state Senate and House will finally pass the DREAM Act and perhaps give my husband some credit,” she said.
The legislation would offer New York’s college-bound undocumented immigrants access to the same in-state scholarships and financial aid available to U.S. citizens.
The state Senator — the first Dominican-American elected to the position — passed away on the eve of Thanksgiving after what appeared to be a cold morphed suddenly into something lethal. The official cause of death remains undetermined.
The widow had told the Daily News that she feared becoming too overwrought to finish her planned eulogy for Peralta, but she fought through tears to honor her late spouse.
“Jose and I were perfect together,” she said. “We were inseparable. I will miss his smile, his scent…the piles of paper he left on every counter.
“My only regret is that our time together was far too short.”
He was also survived by their 13-year-old son Myles and a 21-year-old son Matthew from a prior relationship. The elder son played a dirge on the cello in a particularly poignant moment of the service.
Peralta’s brother, NYPD Lt. Edgar Peralta, recalled how much he learned from his sibling.
“He taught me how to put everyone else in front of yourself,” he said. “He taught me to treat others the way you want to be treated. He taught me that life has no meaning unless you humbly serve others.”
As the service ended, Peralta’s oak casket was loaded into a waiting hearse outside the church.