MIAMI — Jose Perez, co-founder of Miami-based Neff Rentals, died recently from complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 47.
Perez was well known and widely admired in the rental industry because of his knowledge and contributions to the industry and his struggle to remain active after being diagnosed with ALS.
“Our personnel, competitors, equipment suppliers and others would find their way into Jose's office for advice and counsel,” said Neff president Pete Gladis. “He was uplifting and a model of courage. Jose never questioned his fate involving the disease. Instead he used his energies to get all of us to appreciate life on a daily basis,” Gladis added.
A Cuban immigrant, Perez became a sales representative at Hertz Equipment Rental in 1976, working his way up to branch manager. In 1988, Perez founded Neff Rental with Jorge Mas Santos. In 1991 he was diagnosed with ALS, a neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness resulting in paralysis.
He remained active with Neff until his death, and was co-founder of the University of Miami's ALS Research Foundation. Perez is survived by sons Jose Jr. and Alberto, and a granddaughter Daniella.