Maria Elizabeth Rivera, 69, passed away at Waterbrooke Assisted Living, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
Maria was born in Isabella, Puerto Rico, the daughter of the late Juan Roldan and Amparo Sosa Sierra. Of her siblings, she was preceded in death by Carmen Jeppe, Sal Roldan, and Joe Roldan.
Our family was originally from Puerto Rico. My Abuela Amparo met and fell in love with a young man named Juan Roldan (Abuelo Juan), and married, and Abuela Amparo was subsequently disinherited and disenfranchised by her family. It is this clan of the family that immigrated to New York in the early 1950’s.
Maria came to New York as a young child. After a few short years after their arrival in New York, her mother became ill. Circumstances sent the children to the Saint Agatha Catholic orphanage in Nanuet, New York, where Maria grew up guided spiritually and academically by the Nuns. After high school, Maria obtained her certification as a nurse’s aide in New York. Maria relocated to Bronx, New York City for a job to work at the hospital.
She met Felix in the Bronx and he courted her for about four months and they were married on June 1, 1968 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Bronx, New York, however, they were estranged for several years prior to her death. The Rivera’s eventually settled in Chesapeake, Virginia where Maria spent most of her life. As her health failed and Maria herself needed more care she eventually moved from Virginia to North Carolina.
Maria was a nurse’s aide, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She enjoyed singing, dancing, crochet, playing on a piano, ironing while drinking Pepsi, cooking, sewing, photography, and volunteering at public elementary schools in New York as well as volunteering in Chesapeake General Hospital in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Maria was devoted to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren actively participating in their events, and taking pictures at every opportunity as her health permitted. She also passed on traditional Puerto Rican traditions, such as recipes, music, and holiday traditions.
Maria loved the Bible, attending mass as her health permitted, as well as singing hymns of praise. She could often be heard singing or humming quietly, which brought her great joy and peace. She found strength in her faith and the love of family and friends. Even during her last years of illness, her faith never faltered, and will serve as an inspiration for subsequent generations.
Also left to cherish her memory are her sister Justina, three brothers Juan, Andy, and Joe. Two daughters and their families, Reyna and Donald Jenkins of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Tina Stackhouse and husband Clay, of Chesapeake, Virginia; five grandchildren, Amelia Meno and husband Chris, of Okinawa, Japan, Tabitha Pope, of Portsmouth, Virginia, Reyna Pope, of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Lilyanna and Steven Stackhouse, of Chesapeake, Virginia; and three great-grandchildren, JD Sirry (oldest), of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Connor and Calvin Meno of Okinawa, Japan. As well as numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.
The funeral will take place at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia on September 16, 2015 at 11am. Additional details for the funeral arrangements are available on the Family Choice Funerals & Cremations website, as by calling the office at (757) 366-0920. Friends and family are invited to post condolences, photographs, and stories at https://familychoicefunerals.com/book-of-memories/2242831/Rivera-Maria/service-details.php. The family will receive friends at home. Donations in Maria’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6350 Center Drive, Norfolk, Virginia 23502, www.alz.org.
Special thanks to the many who came to our assistance during this most challenging time, they are the care takers of Maria while living at Waterbrooke’s assisted living facility in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Albemarle Hospice staff that offered care and concern shown to Maria and her family. The Hampton Inn in Elizabeth City, North Carolina; the staff offered a cost effective solution for our stay while offering sympathy in the most gentle and understanding way while still offering us a wide range of services at no additional cost to assist our family. Family Choice Funerals & Cremations offered superb customer service that is Authentic, Compassionate, and truly focused on their Clients wishes. Mr. Strickland and his staff went out of their way to assist us during this challenging time in our lives with genuine love and compassion. They made the process as seamless as possible, offering guidance, suggestions, all the while being very compassionate to all of my family throughout this difficult time. My family and I are truly blessed to have Family Choice Funerals & Cremations in our lives, we are eternally grateful to you. St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church family offered unparallel support for our emotional and spiritual requirements while preparing my mom’s funeral and reception. Their tender loving support from Padre Cristiano Bristo and the staff at church is very much appreciated by all of my family, we are wholeheartedly grateful for your support and I know my Mom is smiling in heaven.
DeRican Chef of Virginia Beach owners (husband and wife) for offering to not only cook, deliver, prepare the buffet, and added one more blessing by offering to serve our delicious Puerto Rican feast in honor of Maria. This feast is an excellent example of Maria’s talented hand in preparing our authentic native food to everyone who will join us for the reception. My Mom always cooked these meals with love and joy for all her family, friends, and all were welcome to enjoy her feast.
We are truly appreciative for all these blessings we receive and wanted to thank everyone who assisted us from family, friends, cubscout families, and colleagues who graciously gave their time, love, and compassion to assist us in this special celebration for my wonderful mom. Muchos Gracias!Send FlowersPlant a Tree