Joseph Henry Rivera

Mar 26, 1943 - Sep 6, 2019

Obituary

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…

Guestbook

  • Kathy Rod says:

    Just remembering all the good times with Louie and Marie, Shirley and Joe and Dennis and I. Hope you three guys are having a blast in heaven. Love Kathy Rodriguez.

    • Antonio Rivera says:

      Dad, the absence of your presence has created a void in my heart that can never be filled but memories of your laughter, humor and fatherly advice will remain with me forever. You’re loved always and I know you are now at peace.

  • Karen Love says:

    He was so very special to me. Loved seeing him wearing his cool cap. Find a big spot in heaven Pops cuz alot of us can’t wait to see you again. Don’t worry. We’re gonna watch out for your sweet sweet family

  • Ray and Alice Spadoni says:

    Our condolences to Joes family. Never met him but Patty and Rob told us about him. May God bless his family and k ow he is at peace. RAY and Alice Spadoni.

    • Elsie Cuevas says:

      Where to begin my crazy loving friend. I will miss hearing your laughter. Your family and friends will keep you alive in their hearts. You leave and amazing legacy behind. Love Elsie Cuevas and girls.

  • Marc Hicks says:

    Joe was in my walking group and could always make us laugh. The last time I was with him he insisted that he wanted to by me breakfast. Went I went to see him last we watched the World Series in his hospital room. I love his family as well. The world needs more people like him. See ya in heaven my friend where we will walk together again! Marc Hicks

  • Hilda Rivera says:

    Joey There are no words to express how sad I am to lose you. I loved hearing from you, especially every holiday. We would reminisce about the elaborate Sunday dinners at Neco’s & Ramonita’s home and repeatedly go over all of Neco’s jokes and pranks. I will miss your voice, smile, and loving ways. You remain in my heart forever. Your loving sister, Hilda

  • Where do I begin , how do I say goodbye to my first love . My heart will never be the same , I miss your humor, I miss your smile , I miss your hugs , I even miss you yelling at me 😊 Your love for others was so selfless. Dad you always Remembered birthdays and would call your closest friends and I would hear you talk and laugh for hours , you know it’s the kind of laugh that no sound would come out because the other person on the other end of the phone was laughing exactly the same way. You were a loyal friend and never spoke bad about anyone . You would say hello to anyone who crossed your path and made friends with just about everyone . I know I get that gift from you . You’ve touched so many lives dad and for that I am so proud to be your daughter . My heart will never be the same without you. You have Instilled values in me that I will forever treasure and I will always do my best to make you proud . I hope to see you in my dreams daddy . I will always love you and keep your memory alive for as long as I’m living . I know you will watch over us now and keep us safe and I know one day we will see each other again . I love you Dad♥️

  • Lorraine Perez says:

    My fondest memories of Joey aka Kiki is his wonderful laughter & great sense of humor. He was such a pleasure to be around; fun loving, generous, hard working, loving & dedicated to his family. My dear cousin, you will be sorely missed. Thank you for being you and for the joy you brought to us all. With Much Love, Lorraine aka Lori

  • Leesha Powell Chang says:

    I have know Joe since I was in middle school (a long time ago). Missy and I have a been best friends since then. I can remember when we used to have sleep overs, we would keep him up all night laughing. He would come in an yell at us but when he turned to walk away he would smile and laugh. He had great heart and boy did he love is salsa music. Dance in heaven Joe, you are missed!

  • Joe loved life, he was a dedicated family man, hard worker, happy go lucky fellow. He was caring, generous, and always looking out for others. He had a great smile and had a way of bringing joy to all those he came In Touch with. I will remember Joe for his spirit, beautiful smile, love of life and his beloved 🇵🇷 Puerto Rico. RIP my dear cousin, I will miss you and treasure the good times and memories we shared. Love you…Sonia I

  • Patty Pembroke Drinkwater says:

    We met Joe through the Kaiser walking group. When that program ended, we started walking with Joe and Art at Maidu Park then the Galleria Mall. Joe was my (Patty) walking buddy and I really enjoyed our talks about current events, family and food and all the gadgets he had for cooking. He was always so generous and would buy snacks to share during our walk, so no wonder Joe and I got along so well! Rob says he would always insist on picking up the lunch tab and he’d usually buy a little something extra to share. He was one of the most thoughtful people, always bringing us something unique from QVC or a gift that was just perfect for each person. Joe was a one-of-a-kind friend who we will always miss, but we know he’ll always be watching over us. Love to the Rivera family. Rob and Patty Drinkwater, your Italian brother and sister-in-law!

  • One of my favorite family photos with Joe! Missing you a lot Bro!!! Victor

  • Al Cruz says:

    I have known Joe for so many years…a bus ride was 20 cents and a newspaper was a dime…long time ago! I have so many wonderful memories of my kind, funny friend that I will cherish forever. Rest in peace Joe and know that I will never forget you.

  • Lourdes Aponte de Rivera says:

    Dear Joe… Our beloved Best-Man! Remember when I used to tell you that you were “my favorite brother-in-law in all Antelope, CA”? You were the must happy person I have ever met. Always laughing, with a joke to share and looking for the well-being of the family. Every time that Vic and you were talking over the phone I knew it was with you. The laugh of both of you was like music to my ears. I will always remember the surprise that Shirley, You and Vic gave me when you all rented a limousine to take us to the San Francisco Airport. How much I laughed that day! Thank you “cuñado” for being so special! We will remember you forever… and don’t forget my usual greeting to you that always made you laugh: Happy “Tri-kin” Day! Love, Lourdes and Victor

  • Elizabeth Torres says:

    Joe was the most kind hearted person I ever knew, a friend to all who knew him. A wonderful son to his family, an amazing father and husband. Joe we will miss you terribly and you will always be in our memories and in our hearts ♥️

  • Josephine Montenegro says:

    I know Joe from the New York days and when he met Shirley which was love at first sight, we all became friends unil now. He was the best husband, father and friend. Always had a smile on his face, and always ready to help someone in need. Throughout his illness, he was a warrior. May he rest in peace.

  • With my heart in a million pieces I know you have earned your golden wings as you were an Angel here on earth. Dad, your selflessness, caring, loving and giving heart will be remembered by many always. Your family and friends have suffered a great loss with your departure. But, you are at peace now and pain free. Dad, thank you for all the love, encouragement, advice and support your gave me throughout the 30 plus years since you welcomed me into your family. You will forever be loved, missed, honored and cherished. Adriana will continue to grow and know the love you have for her. I will promise you that Tony and I will continue to do all we can do so that she makes you a proud Grandpa. We love you always and forever, your daughter and Granddaughter, Selenia & Adriana

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