Joseph Rivera, age 84, of Boone and formerly of Adair and Ringgold Counties, died Friday, April 13, at his home in Boone.
Joe has gifted his body to the Anatomical Board of Nebraska for medical students’ learning. There will be no formal services. A celebration of his life will be held later in the summer; details to be provided.
Joe was born in New York City, on April 15, 1933, the son of Joseph and Carmen Laura (Vidal) Rivera. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951, serving honorably overseas in Morocco and North Africa before being stationed in southern Missouri where he met his wife, Barbara Ann Cologna. He pursued his education at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, and graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in secondary education of English and Spanish in 1962. He added an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Southwestern Community College in 1984, then served on the Board of Directors for SWCC for seven years. He continued serving in the United States Army Reserve and National Guard until his full retirement as a master sergeant.
Joe enjoyed music, movies and sports with his family and friends, including coaching his sons’ Little League teams, golfing, bowling, fishing and cheering for the New York Giants and later New York Yankees. He was a devout Catholic, loyal to God, country and family.
He served as administrator for hospitals in Neosho, Missouri; Richmond, Missouri; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Bloomfield, Iowa; and Greenfield, Iowa. He was highly respected by his co-workers, who spoke of his leadership and dedication to health care for small communities, as well as his gift for storytelling. Later in his life, he lived at the Regency Apartments in Boone, Iowa, surrounded by kind neighbors and friends.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Barbara on April 2, 2004; his parents; his older brother, Robert; and his infant son, Michael Edward; daughters-in-law, Jayne Ann Gross Rivera and Janet Lim Rivera; and grandson, Marine PFC Brandon Sturdy. Joseph is survived by four sons, Joseph Rivera and his wife, Jennifer of Boone, Iowa; Robert Louis Rivera and his wife, Shelly of Urbandale, Iowa; Thomas Alan Rivera and his wife, Debbie of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; and David Anthony Rivera and his wife, Pam of Sedalia, Missouri; one daughter, Michele Ann Rivera, and her partner, Mark Roper of Kansas City, Missouri, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The Rivera family would like to thank the staff of Boone County Hospital, Suncrest Hospice, HomeInstead, Jan Mallas, and Regency Apartments for their care and support during Joe’s time in Boone. A very special thank you to Kathy Wheelock for the comfort and joy she brought to Joe, permitting him to spend his final weeks in his home as he wished.
In memory of Joe, memorials may be directed to following: Shriner’s Hospital for Children Saint Jude’s Hospital and Wounded Warriors program.
Online condolences at schroedermemorialchapel.com
The Schroeder-Reimers Memorial Chapel at Sixth and Marshall in Boone, Iowa is in charge of the arrangements.