Maritza Iberico Reiss, 65, passed away on April 20, 2020 after an unfortunate battle with COVID19. She was a healthy, proud woman with a quick wit and bold spirit who was always smiling. Maritza loved to travel, recently visiting Egypt, Jordan and Israel in search of the Ancient Middle Eastern Worlds – and just a few months prior, she was hiking in the Andes of South America. Her family is beyond heartbroken as to why COVID19 so seriously affected her when she had no pre-existing conditions, but they know she is now watching over them in peace.
Maritza was born in Lima, Peru on September 13, 1954 to her parents, Arturo Iberico Guzmán and Aida Navarro Luján de Iberico. Maritza grew up in Lima during a very prosperous time for Peru, living an idyllic childhood. She is survived by her son Bennett Reiss, siblings- Arturo (Pitty), Carmen, Rosa and Carlos, nieces and nephews, and a wealth of family and friends around the world.
From an early age, Maritza displayed a love of learning, history and culture, especially when it came to languages. She mastered the subtleties of her native Spanish and discovered an early passion for English. As a teenager in Peru, she advocated for herself to her parents to do a student exchange and was awarded the opportunity to attend such a program in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota. Here she discovered her love of the United States and English/ US-American culture.
Maritza graduated high school from Colegio Inglés Monterrico in Lima and then pursued her undergraduate degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She then worked towards a second degree and, ultimately, a master’s degree from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, where she moved in her early 20’s. Here she nurtured her passions and spent those formative years growing into a cultured and civilized woman. In her early 30’s, Maritza followed her adventurous spirit to New York with the goal of film studies. Immediately upon arriving in New York City, she knew she had found her new home. Soon after, Maritza met a wonderful man whom she married – then the two were blessed with a beautiful son, Bennett, the pride and joy of her life.
Unfortunately, The Reiss’ marriage did not work out – Maritza and her former husband were divorced. However, after the separation, she returned to her life-long joy for language and became a Spanish language teacher – first for the New York City Board of Education at Ryan Junior High School in Queens, NY – then for Herricks High School in Nassau County, Long Island. She also was privileged to teach a few semesters at Queens College for the Spanish Literature Department.
Throughout her career as a teacher she also embarked on various entrepreneurial ventures. Maritza and Bennett started a wine import/ export company where they distributed fine South American wines to the Chinese marketplace. More recently, she worked with fellow US-based Peruvian American friends to bring Quinoa northwards to the United States. In this process, she joined the Peruvian-Long Island Chamber of Commerce and was eventually elected President of Chamber.
One of her most proud accomplishments of this last year, which her family is beyond grateful she was able to achieve, was the publication of her book The Anti-Trump Manifesto. She made no secret of her zest for political debate and spent 2018-2019 writing this book, which she self-published in January 2020.
There is simply too much to say about Maritza in a short space. She also studied the French language, went on a spiritual pilgrimage walking the country of Spain on the Camino de Santiago, she obtained a second master’s degree from Queens College in New York City, and until her last days was planning new adventures of traveling the world with her friends and family.
Maritza Iberico Reiss is survived by her devoted family and friends around the world. They would like to express their most sincere thanks and appreciation to all loved ones in North America, South America, Europe and even Asia – those who made Maritza’s life so very special and who will always remember her pure heart, infectious smile, spirited laugh, positive attitude and the love she exuberated to everyone who crossed her path.
As Maritza always said – “look for solutions, don’t overcomplicate things, enjoy life and aspire to reach for the stars”.