Raul Ruben Rivera Sr., 75, passed away unexpectedly on January 21, 2021.
Raul was born on January 23, 1945, in Mercedes, Texas to Juan Rivera and María de Los Ángeles Rivera. He had 11 brothers and sisters: Celia Valencia (deceased), Juan Rivera, Margarita López (deceased), Martha Caldera, Rogelio Rivera, Yolanda Rivera, Rolando Rivera, Irma Rivera, María Rivera, Alma Reed, and Richard Rivera.
He is survived by his wife Juanita (Galvan) Rivera, whom for him the sun rose and set for. Married for 55 loving years. His children: Dora M Rivera, Raul R Rivera Jr. (Lisa), Mónica Rivera, Sergio Rivera, and Yesenia Rivera Padilla (Dagoberto); grandchildren: Tabytha M Herrero, Krystal M Nietert, Cerina C Potochney, Destinee A Cruz, Reyna M Andalón, Raul R Rivera III, Elijah J Rivera, Ezikiel I Padilla, Nathaniel E Padilla; and great-grandchildren Audrina, Gionni Potochney, Romeo J Castro and Serenity M Herrero.
Raul was raised in Mexico and moved to Castroville, California later in his teenage years where he met his beautiful and loving wife, Juanita. They married in 1965 and started their family with the births of their first two children. Raul always had a strong work ethic and a desire to provide for his family. This led him to move to Aurora, Illinois in 1968 where he continued to expand his family and build a wonderful life.
While in Aurora, Raul was involved in many community and church programs. He was heavily involved in Aurora Boys Baseball. He had a passion for coaching and mentoring children of all ages and races, believing everyone should have a fair and equal chance to play. In 1980 Raul also felt a need to start a competitive men’s baseball league to help those who loved the game continue to play baseball. Raul with the support of friends started the Spanish American Baseball League. In 2009 the league was renamed after him Raul, RRBL (Raul Rivera Baseball League). His legacy and love for the game will live on for years to come. He was also recognized by the Fox Valley Park District for his outstanding achievement and dedication to the Game of Baseball. For having a dream and having the discipline and courage to make that dream a reality. He taught many to love the game with the same passion he had. He left many memories that are still felt by former players that are now coaching in Aurora boys baseball. He will be remembered as A leader, a Coach, but most of all as a friend.
Raul moved back to California in 1993 to help support his parents as well as be close to other family members. He often could be seen walking down the street with his Walkman and headphones on listening to his music while getting his exercise in. Later as his health declined you could often hear his music from his backyard as he sat and reminisced about his life and how proud he was of his family.
He was a hero, not only to his wife, and children but also to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was known for his clear moral and ethical center, his positivity and enthusiasm, his sense of humor, and his ability to tell a good story. His memory is a blessing to everyone who knew him.
Mehls Colonial Chapel has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”
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