Queen of Heaven Cemetery and Mortuary – Rowland Heights Obituary
On March 15, 2022, Johnny L. Rivera passed away at the age of 78.
Johnny lived in Diamond Bar, California for over forty-four years with his beautiful wife Rosalee and three children Johnny, Carmen and David. Johnny loved his wife, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, fellow veterans and others he would meet on a daily basis.
Johnny grew up in Los Angeles, California with parents, Grace and Jessie (Roland) and ten children including Johnny: Robert, Benjamin, Margarito, Richard, Joseph, Julia, Jessica, Mary, and Paula. Johnny learned a lot from his older brothers and sisters and his younger brothers and sisters learned a lot from him. Johnny was an alter boy at his local catholic church, was a cadet with the Los Angeles County Civil Air Patrol, shined shoes in Downtown Los Angeles and sold newspapers as a carrier boy (newsboy) for the Los Angeles Mirror-News.
On October 16, 1955, at the age of 12, while working as a Mirror-News Carrier Boy, Johnny saved the life of a five year old girl from a flaming death. While winding up his paper route, Johnny saw a five year old girl, her clothes afire, run screaming from a trailer court. Johnny acted quickly and rolled the child on the ground and beat out the flames. Johnny received recognition from Supervisor Kenneth Hahn of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and was photographed with Supervisor Hahn receiving an award for heroism.
In 1965, Johnny was drafted into the United States Army. Johnny served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967 and served overseas in Vietnam as a combat Military Policeman at the military rank of Specialist 4 (E4). While in Vietnam, Johnny volunteered to serve as a Sentry Dog Handler and teamed with his attack German Shepherd dog “Prince.” Johnny was also a 100% disability rated veteran and participated in group meetings with fellow veterans at the East Los Angeles VA Center.
After service in Vietnam, Johnny worked for True Value Hardware (Cotter & Company) distribution warehouse, the nations largest hardware distribution chain, for over twenty years as a long-haul truck driver. Johnny loved the outdoors and delivered freight to many different states. Johnny moved his family to Diamond Bar, California in the 1970s.
In retirement, Johnny loved spending time with his wife and grandchildren. He enjoyed traveling and playing the saxophone and piano. He volunteered at the Veterans Administration (VA) office in Long Beach, California and helped escort disabled veterans in wheelchairs throughout the VA hospital for over 15 years. Johnny earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation from United States President George W. Bush. Johnny also volunteered with Meals on Wheels and delivered meals to needy residents. Additionally, Johnny was active with the East Los Angeles VA Center and met with fellow veterans multiple times each week for group meetings. He loved his fellow veterans and shared that he felt a strong bond with veterans who understood what he went through overseas in Vietnam.
Johnny was a tall man at 6’2″ and many knew him as “Big John” but was down to earth and liked to tell jokes and loved to laugh. He loved to dress as Santa Claus each Christmas for his family and would visit disabled children at Rowland Unified School District. Johnny was full of energy and spirit and loved life.
Johnny had a special loving bond with his children and grandchildren whom he loved very much. He was proud that his son Johnny earned a Master’s Degree and was a United States Army Reserve Officer, his daughter Carmen earned her Master’s Degree and is a public school teacher and his son David earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and is a practicing registered nurse.
Johnny loved living and he will always be remembered as a special man with a very big heart who touched the lives of many people.
Johnny devoted his life to god, wife, family, friends and country and is greatly respected.
Rest in peace beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, U.S. Army combat veteran and friend- YOUR FAMILY.