Wednesday, February 8, 2017
3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
Rosary at 7 PM
Thursday, February 9, 2017
10:30 AM EST
St. Michael Archangel Church
Livonia, MI 48150
Instate at 10 AM
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
2366 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Life Story / Obituary
Robert Rivera was a devoted family man. A loving husband, a kind-hearted brother, and an easy-going uncle, nothing brought Robert greater joy than the time he spent with his close-knit family. He lived his life fully enjoying his love of baseball and spending a career as an electrician. A charming person who sincerely loved all people, there simply wasn’t anything that Robert wouldn’t do for anyone he met, especially his family. He leaves behind a warm collection of memories to be lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
Despite the war in Korea, by 1952 Americans considered themselves to be prospering. The average worker was earning $3,400 per year, three out of five families owned a car, and more than half of families owned televisions in their homes. That same year, Joel and Teresa Rivera welcomed home their newborn son, Robert in Detroit, Michigan on September 13. Born the youngest of three children, Robert literally grew up in the backyard of the Detroit Tigers between Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street. His birth brought great happiness to his parents and his older siblings, Irene and Joel.
A lifelong resident of the Detroit area, Robert’s father worked at General Motors and his mother was a homemaker. As a young kid, Robert spent many summer days perfecting his love of baseball and hanging out primarily with his cousins in the neighborhood. With extended family members living in Texas, Robert and his siblings took many road trips there to visit family and create lasting memories over their growing years. As a high school student at Cooley, Robert enjoyed playing football and shooting rifles with the ROTC. Being a natural sharpshooter led to his interest in joining the Navy in 1969. During his time in the Navy, Robert discovered another love; electricity. After being discharged from his service time in the Navy, he attended college and earned a degree in business graduating Magna Cum Laude. Successful in anything he set out to accomplish, Robert supplemented his college years by managing a boutique shop while juggling a busy social life of sports and dating. By 1975, Robert was accepted into the IBEW, Local 58, electrical apprenticeship and proudly earned his journeyman’s license.
Not to be forgotten was the day he met the love of his life, Sandy Ligenza while attending a friend’s wedding. For them, it was love at first sight. By 1983, they joined in marriage. Sandy was never much into sports, but there wasn’t any sport she didn’t love to watch Robert play. Not having any children of their own, the two of them delighted in spending time with their many nieces and nephews. Later in 1990, they purchased a beautiful piece of ten acre property near Pinckney where Robert built Sandy the home of her dreams. This property became their personal refuge over the years. Robert especially treasured the space for its privacy and for his daily meditation. With the exception of a matinee with the big screen all to himself, Robert much preferred to be home and content enjoying a hot dog on the deck than out at a restaurant eating steak! During his many illnesses over the years, Robert found joy in working around the property and finding solace in its beauty.
Retiring in 2008, Robert filled his days with many of his favorite pastimes. Music was a daily ritual for him. He favored Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, country as well as blues, as long as the music was loud! In addition to music, he loved to meditate daily on the simple truths of life, love, and family. Robert was blessed with a beautiful family of sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews and cherished his daily practice of gratitude in reflecting on the richness of each and every relationship he shared. Never one to remain idle, he and Sandy both enjoyed going to many Tigers ball games. They shared the thrill of the game from its banter on the plays, to its fans, players, managers, and even the umpire’s final calls! He was very fond of his pets especially his love bird of sixteen years, Baby and for the past two years his constant companion, Poncho. Described as having a strong sense of responsibility and moral values, meticulous, and righteous in his political beliefs, Robert will be deeply missed. He loved his beloved wife, Sandy right up to the end, calling her his personal angel while holding her hand in prayer as he peacefully departed. He will never be forgotten by his family and many special friends.
Robert Rivera, age 64 of Pinckney, passed away on February 4, 2017. He is survived by wife, Sandy; sister, Irene Rivera and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Joel. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, February 9 at 10:30 AM at St. Michael Archangel Church in Livonia. Visitation will be held Wednesday, February 8 from 3-8 PM at Turowski Life Story Funeral Home west of Middlebelt in Livonia. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to Arbor Hospice. To share a photo or memory about Robert’s life or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com