My father, Fernando Rivera, or as we dearly called him, “old man” was a hardworking man that lived a long and fruitful life. He was born on December 4th 1933, in Humacao Puerto Rico to the late Dionisio Rivera & Otilia Fuentes. He had a strong character and was the no-nonsense type of guy. We loved and cherished his personality and learned a lot from it. He loved to joke around with people and make them laugh. He adored salsa music and most weekends contributed to his community of the Bronx by hosting salsa parties out of the New Palace Paint parking lot on 180th st. He also worked there for several years, and was loved by his colleagues. Working was his life, so much that he continued to work after retirement. After he got sick, he always made it his business to use his walker and pass by to say hello to his old friends at the store.

In his early twenties, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, and also the Army of Occupation Medal for his time in Germany.  He never spoke much about his time in the service, but we always knew he was a bad-ass.

Perhaps, many will remember him for other reasons, like how he always mailed a card on a special occasion, his love for the lousy Mets, or his charisma. But I know that I will remember him for being my old man. A hard worker who did the best he could with the cards he was dealt, thank you pop.

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