The Life of Don Julio Rivera
A Family Man
Julio Rivera, was born June 28, 1928 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. On June 9, 2019 he passed away peacefully at the age of 91 years old surrounded by his family.
In 1956, Julio made the courageous decision to relocate from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia, Pa., with his wife and first-born child, in tow. His family grew with the addition of their second-born child. Shortly after her birth, they relocated to Allentown, Pa., and maintained roots there. Eventually, the family grew to include eight children and his beloved mother; affectionately known as “abuela” who resided with them. His love and devotion to his family was like no other.
With little formal education, Julio made away for his family first working modest jobs in a factory and then at The Foundry cement company. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to open several successful businesses. He was known to be one of the first business owners of Puerto Rican descent to establish and operate a business in Allentown, Pa. In the early years, he owned a “bodega” on Hamilton street, and a popular billiard hall. Later, he owned Rivera’s Market, a staple in the community.
Julio lived a good life, he was a family man, home owner, entrepreneur, and above all a man of God.
Respected by his friends and the community, Julio was known as a man of integrity and loved and admired by many. His warm heart and charming personality drew people to him and he had the ability to win over people with his charisma. His smile and his infectious laugh brightened the room. He kept smiling and laughing even in his final moments.
Julio leaves to cherish a lifetime of memories, he is survived by his loving children; daughter Nilsa Quinones (Hector); daughter Sandra Jenkins (Lenny); son Julio C. Rivera (Cindi); daughter Lourdes Rivera (Richard); son Charles Rivera (Lynn); daughter Gricel Rivera (Willy); son David Rivera; daughter Sarita Rivera; brother Audeliz Delgado, 21 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren.
Julio was preceded in death by his beautiful and devoted wife Virginia Collazo Rivera; his mother Arcadia Gonzalez; his father Jacob Rivera; his sisters, Blanca Collazo, Maria Rivera, and Anna Cruz.
My favorite memory of my Dad is when he would come to my house for dinner almost every day. After dinner he would do the dishes for me while singing his favorite song. Hector and I would smile at each other while sitting in our living room listening to him. -Nilsa
Papi would come to the house and he peeped through the doors and windows. One time he didn’t realize that I was peeping right back at him. We made eye contact. Then when he realized it was me, we both started cracking up laughing at the same time. We laughed out loud for a while. -Sandra
Papi and I would sit on my front porch on Emmaus and watch the annual car show go by. He would come by every year to watch it with me. I would cook hot dogs on the grill and we would sit and talk about old cars and that’s why, to this day, I love old cars so much. -Julio
Some of my fondest memories of Papi were those that I had with him coming to visit me and family in Austin, TX. He was always so happy to be there. He enjoyed everything we did from visiting our State’s capital to going to the museums, visiting Zilker Park and enjoying some fun foods known in Austin. Plus, we did some fun shopping. However, mostly I loved watching him in my kitchen cooking up a storm of my favorite Puerto Rican food, as my children and grandchildren looked on. I remember how happy he was watching us enjoy everything he cooked for us. We did partake of so much deliciousness. -Lourdes
Papi would come over to my house for a picnic. I would offer him food and he would usually say “I’m not hungry.” The next thing I knew, he had eaten six hot dogs. We can all remember how much Papi loved his hot dogs. -Charlie
Papi would come and sit on my front porch. He would jokingly yell out “Willy there is beer for you, El Cuppi, Cuppi!” (translates to Sip Sip). We loved to laugh. -Gracey
My favorite memory of Papi is when we would both sit and watch wrestling together on Monday and Thursday nights. He loved wrestling and I do too. We had good times. -David
My favorite memory of Papi is when he would come over faithfully on Sunday nights with a pack of cookies in hand. He would say “Where is El Gigante.” AKA Noah! -Sarita
Viewing will take place on Thursday from 5-8PM and Friday from 10-11AM in the Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery-Whitehall
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