Jose Rivera, Sr. (Pepin) of Zion, IL passed away on Thursday, March 31, 2022, from kidney failure at the age of 93 years old. Pepin was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico to Rafael and Maria Rivera. He was the oldest of 12 children and was raised in a humble and loving family. In 1951 he married his wife, Haydee Rivera Zayas. Seeking better opportunities for his family he moved his wife and children to Waukegan, Ill in the late 1950’s. He worked for Dexter Midland for over 25 years and with his wife, raised 8 children. He was an active member of the Puerto Rican Society in Waukegan, Illinois and a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church for many years.
After his wife of 54 years passed away, he relocated back to the island of Puerto Rico, where he enjoyed his retirement years playing dominoes, visiting with his sisters and brothers, indulging in the many delicious island dishes and relaxing in his favorite spot, his hammock while listening to the coquis. His children will always have many fond memories of happy visits with him on the island. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, sadly he had to say goodbye to his beloved home on the island.
He returned to Waukegan/Zion area to be closer to his immediate family due to health issues. During his blessed long life, he taught his children and grandchildren the lessons of always finding the positives in life’s challenges by being kind, being loving to each other, to always laugh, to dance when possible and to find joy in the “moment”. These lessons have given them the strength and resiliency that they have to this day.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Haydee Rivera, his beloved son, Jose Rivera, Jr., and his dear granddaughter, Nicole Rivera.
He is survived by his children Doraida Rivera Jacobson (Chuck), William Rivera (Darlene), Alfredo Rivera, Luz E. Rivera (Frank), Laura Rosa Rivera, Hilda Rivera (Teresa) and Angelo Rivera (Ericka) as well as his many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters & brother, nieces & nephews who loved him dearly. He will be missed by all that knew him.
The family would like to thank the wonderful, caring staff at Barton Senior Residence and Vitas Hospice Healthcare for their compassionate care.
Services will be private for the family. Those wishing to honor his life can make a donation to the National Kidney Foundation.