Joseph Henry Rivera
Mar 26, 1943 - Sep 6, 2019
Joseph Henry Rivera, Sr. was born on March 26, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before his parents eventually settled in Brooklyn, NY where he was raised and lovingly called Kiki throughout his childhood. Joe was the middle child of Manuel “Neco” Rivera-Ortiz and Ramona “Ramonita” Burgos-Diaz from Orocovis and Morovis, Puerto RIco. In their twilight years Joe’s parents returned to their roots in Puerto Rico where they rest today. Throughout his life Joe shared a very special bond with his two siblings; older brother Victor Manuel and their younger brother Edwin who both live in Puerto Rico, San Juan and Guanica respectively.
After graduating from Eastern District, High School, he followed in his father’s footsteps and managed Neco’s Bodega in Brooklyn, NY, until he relocated to Long Beach, CA in 1977 and became a machinist for Lafayette Metals and Reliance Steel. In 1969, Joe married the love of his life Shirley Seda and was an adoring and loving father to his four children, Joseph Jr., (Jay), Antonio, (Tony), Melissa (Missy) and Michael (Mikey). He was a doting grandfather to his three grandchildren – Nicholas Abel, Adriana Maria and Nicolas Kenneth, and great grandchild Dylan Jason. Joe also adored and had special relationships with his nieces and nephews; Lourdes, Ivette, Victor Jr., David, Leslie and Wendy.
In 1989, Joe and his childhood friend Luis Camacho opened up their first partnership of the Green Burrito franchise, where they sponsored a Little League Baseball team and created a scholarship for collegebound neighborhood kids. Joe eventually became an independent proprietor of his own Green Burrito in Anaheim, CA and continued the practice that reflected their personalities and success by being a community friendly establishment that knew their customers and greeted everyone like family until his retirement in 2005.
Joe suffered his first stroke in 2013 and was treated at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center where he joined their patient walking group and became great friends with Patty, Ron, Art, Donna and many others as they traversed Maidu Park and the Galleria Mall. On October 19, 2017, Joe suffered a brain stem stroke which required him to be placed in Auburn Oaks Care Center for on-going care and monitoring by the staff and his roommate Dan. Even in his debilitated state he remained charismatic and was adored by the medical staff there.
Joe loved his family, friends, baseball, cooking, a good joke and life. He never spoke ill of others and would say that a stranger “is a friend you haven’t met yet”. He will surely be missed by all…