Gloria Esther Rivera Gonzalez, a beloved and faithful wife, mother and grandmother to her family was welcomed to the kingdom of heaven to be with our Lord and Savior on July 29, 2019. Gloria was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico on May 9, 1952 to Antonio Rivera Colon and Virginia Trujillo Melendez. Her siblings are Israel Sanchez, Moises Rivera, Josue Rivera, Isaias Rivera and Carmen Rivera.
In her adolescence, she relocated to New York. She loved to explore and loved adventure, so it was easy for her to meet and gain new friendships. She attended Jr High and High School in Manhattan till 1970 when she graduated.
At the age of 18 she moved to Boston with close friends, the Villega Family. There she obtained a job as clerical typist at the Prudential Bank. While living in Boston there she attended a youth convention at the Mission-board Church in Boston where she met her prince charming Carlos Manuel Gonzalez whom later would become her husband. They courted and married within 6 months on June 19, 1971. The fruit of her marriage brought forth seven children, Gloria Esther, Keren-hapuc Virginia, Carlos Manuel Jr., Obed Antonio, Cesiah-alegria Ramona, Merari Eunice and Deborah Camila and was blessed with 7 in-laws and 22 grandchildren.
The entrepreneurship in her led her to become a sale-rep in Avon where she exceeded expectations and broke record in Sales. This allowed an opportunity to win an all expense paid trip for she and her husband to France and Italy. While in France she met Princess Grace and dined with her. Her experience was life changing and truly demonstrated how adventurous she was. In the middle of being a wife, and a mother of 7 children she obtained her Preschool Teacher Certification and became a teacher at Head Start for 25 years. In the process of providing for her family, she also was motivated to return to school where she completed her associates degree at Revere College.
In her desire to accomplish the American Dream of home ownership, she prayed closely with her husband and found their dream home. She was always motivated to push everyone to succeed and instill these values in her children.
Gloria was a devout Christian and an active member in her church community the Spanish Assemblies of God Church in Lawrence, MA for 39 years. In her love for God and reaching people for Jesus Christ at home and abroad she worked closely with the local church, her husband and visited many hospitals, and nursing homes. She was supportive of her children’s spiritual journeys and often visited the churches where her children attend. In her passion for loving people and sharing her faith, she travelled to Florida as well as abroad which included Columbia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil to share the good news. She had many opportunities to do missionary work and often visited local churches alongside her husband.
In the 9/11 attacks, she learned her close brother Isaias Rivera, perished in the World Trade Center. Gloria went to New York days after to assist her family in the search for her brother. In October 2001, Gloria soon found out she was diagnosed with breast cancer. From that point on she maintained her strong faith and courage in God which allowed her to fight the disease for 20 years. Statistics indicated that patients with this disease would only last 5 years, however God blessed her with an additional 15 years beyond what statistics record. During this process, she and her husband united in prayer which helped her prevail in this journey. In the beginning, middle and end of this journey, she maintained her faith and trust in the Lord. She always kept her zest for life regardless of the circumstances of her disease. In every doctor visit, and hospitalization she had, she demonstrated her faith to anyone she encountered.
On June 26, 2019 she was taken to the hospital and when many thought she was going to breathe her last breath, she lived 4.5 more weeks in spite of her struggle. She even surprised the doctors by walking and communicating via writing in her weakest moments. It was a delight and a gift to all of us to spend the last few precious moments with her.
Truly she demonstrated to be a warrior in this challenge and did not give up without a fight. She was truly loved by all who met her and often were amazed at her stamina and desire to live. She loved her family very much and was always watching out for them, even when she was bed stricken. She even maintained a good sense of humor. She will be missed greatly here on earth but she finished the race that she had been running. Held her head up strong and trusted in the Lord’s grace to help her cross that finish line.
2nd Timothy 4:7, 8
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will be awarded to me on that day— and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
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