Maria C. Rivera

WESTFIELD – Maria C. Rivera, 81, (1940 – 2022) passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 4, 2022, after a brief stay at Heritage Hall South in Agawam, while surrounded by her loving family and friends. Maria was born in Morovis, Puerto Rico, in 1940, to the late Manuel Rivera Pabon and Cecilia Rodriguez Matos, also of Morovis, PR. Maria, also nicknamed “Cecys,” “Chen,” and “Chencha,” loved spending time with her family.

Maria was an active member of El Camino, Inc., and enjoyed spending time with her friends, and praying with her fellow spiritual warriors in her Women’s Group. She had many hobbies over the years, including gardening, baking and decorating cakes, crochet-knitting, refinishing old furniture and drawing. Maria was a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church in Westfield since arriving in Westfield in 1984. She married the love of her life in 1965, and moved to Manhattan from Puerto Rico soon, thereafter, birthing two of her three children in New York City. A working mom, Maria was trained in shorthand and worked at IBM Corp. in their headquarters in New York’s Times Square as a Keypunch Operator, helping to translate into binary code data punch-cards used to run computer programs, back when a computer was the size of an entire room. After relocating with the family to Hartford in 1981, and then East Hartford, CT, Maria worked a similar position at Aetna Insurance Company, before relocating again and settling in Westfield, MA, where she had the third of her three children. Maria was a resident of Westfield for almost 40 years. Maria worked for the Westfield Public Schools, including the South Middle School and Westfield Vocational Academy, as a Teacher’s Aide, and enjoyed working with the children, letting each of them know that they were special, talented, and valuable, no matter what anyone else might think, including, sometimes, even themselves. She enjoyed learning and completed continuing education classes at Westfield State College and Elms College. Maria was also a volunteer for St. Mary’s Parish as a CCD teacher and a Eucharistic Minister. Maria liked to sing whenever she was happy, had a fearless sense of fashion, and gave the best hugs.

Maria was admitted to Heritage Hall Skilled Nursing Facility in Agawam after nearly seven years of being attended at her home by her family, Personal Care Assistants, 24/7, and while in steadily deteriorating health. The family is grateful to Maria’s sisters, all of whom at some point or other assisted in her care. Maria now joins her brother Jose Manuel Rivera and her sister Gloria Ana Suarez in God’s heavenly glory.

Maria is survived by her beloved husband of almost fifty-seven years, Juan F. Rivera, her loving daughter, Joanne Cruz and her husband Jose, her son, Juan M. Rivera, Esq., and his wife Via, and her son, Joel Rivera, all of Westfield, and her five grandchildren, Jose E. Cruz, Javier E. Cruz, Maricelis J. Cruz, Isabella M. Rivera and Isaiah M. Rivera, her brother Angel Maria Rivera and her sisters, Antonia Rivera, Carmen Rosa Rivera, Milagros Morales, Florinda Rivera and Hilda Rivera all of Morovis, Puerto Rico, and Aida Ortiz of East Hartford, CT, and many cousins, nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces.

The family would like to thank Maria’s at-home workers, Maria Sanabria, Marta Monjaras, Carmen Torres, Isabel Bushey-Felix, Leilani Cruz, Iliana Lopez, and Maria’s granddaughters, Maricelis J. Cruz, and Isabella M. Rivera, for providing Maria with dignified care, respect, and genuine love. The family would also like to thank Nancy Vega, Gabino Castro, and Carmen Torres, for providing spiritual support to Maria during her final hours, and to Fr. John Salatino of St. Mary’s for timely arriving to give Maria her last Holy Rites.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, June 13th, 2022, at 10:30AM in St. Mary’s Church, Bartlett St., Westfield. Burial will immediately follow the Mass in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Southampton Rd., Westfield. Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, June 12th, 2022, from 2-5PM at Firtion Adams Funeral Service, 76 Broad St., Westfield.

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