MISSION — On April 27th, 2014, Fernando “Zapata” Rivera, Jr., devout Roman Catholic, beloved husband, father, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, friend, and farmer, answered God’s call. The Lord saw that Fernando was ailing, and cure was not to be. He put His arms around him and whispered, “Come home with me, my son.”
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Dolores; sons, Fernando III and Gerardo Antonio Rivera; brothers, Arturo, Jesus M., Jose Omar and Francisco Rivera; sisters, Teresa Recio, Maria Antonia Rivera, EdD., Maria Lourdes Mayer, Amelia Rivera Garza, Maria Elena and Carmen Rivera.
Fernando was preceded in death by his parents, Fernando and Maximina Rivera; baby brother, Cruz; grandmothers, Felipa F. Sanchez and Teresa M. Rivera; his beloved great aunt, Jesusa “Chucha”; great uncle, Juan Sanchez; and aunt, Guadalupe S. Izaguirre.
“Zapata” was a life member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and an alumna of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. After graduating from Mission High School, he joined the U. S. Army and was stationed in Germany during the Berlin Crisis.
Fernando was a Cursillista, U. S. Army Veteran, a member of American Legion Post 93 in Mission and a board member of the Irrigation Water District. Before retiring in 2012, Fernando was employed by Townsend Case Implement Co., Weaks Martin John Deere Implement Co. and Pioneer Case – all farm/tractor businesses, where he worked for 54 years and jobs he enjoyed. He learned to drive a tractor at the age of seven and never stopped until he became sick.
You couldn’t be around “Nango” without knowing that much of who he was when it came to his Faith and Trust in God. He was truly a man who believed and lived the things he believed. He referred to God as his “great inner strength that made everything possible.” His love of family was his cherished blessing. His greatest attribute was his dedication to farming, a passion learned from his Dad, Fernando Sr.
Fernando, the Christian, “Nango” the family man and “Zapata” the farmer now rests in the eternal peace of Thy Lord. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
A visitation was held on Tuesday, April 29, from 1 to 9 p.m. at Ric Brown Family Funeral Home in Mission. A rosary was recited at 7 p.m. A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on Wednesday, April 30, at 12 p.m. with burial to follow at San Jose Cemetery in Mission. Military honors will be handled by Catholic War Veterans Post 8788.
In lieu of flowers the family requested that donations be made to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Restoration Fund.