RIVERA, GIOVANNA C. 88, a 9-year resident of Annapolis and formerly of Staten Island, NY, died at home on July 5 surrounded by her loving family. Born on July 26, 1925 in Livorno, Italy, to the late Pietro and Norma Ciucci, she was the war bride of the late Lt. Col. Robert Y. Rivera, USA. She received a degree in elementary and middle school teaching in Italy in 1942. During World War II she taught students at all these levels in the countryside of Lucca when public instruction was suspended due to the war. An accomplished linguist, fully proficient in German, English and French, she became the unofficial interpreter for the Italian civilian population in this area and the German command, resolving food and property issues. Thanks to her quick wit and decisive actions she saved the lives of civilian men and boys from the SS. At the end of the war, she was selected to become the official interpreter for the Commander of U.S. forces in Tuscany. In 1947 she followed her husband to his next post in the New York City area. Gifted in design and painting, she was employed by Wand Art Studio as a commercial artist and produced works for such companies as Sax Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor. After 5 years, she left her job to accompany her husband to Tangier, Morocco, where he directed telecommunications for RCA Global Communications. During her 17 years in Morocco and later 3 years in Madrid, Spain, she devoted herself to her family and to her husband's endeavors. Upon returning to the U.S., she began a successful career as a translator-contractor for U.S. government agencies along with her husband until 2005. She was a wonderful multicultural gourmet cook who enjoyed sharing her talents with friends and family. She remained always passionate about the arts and continued to paint and do ceramics and mosaics with Venetian glass. She also enjoyed her stays and travels around Europe and North Africa, where she made many lasting friendships. Above all, Giovanna cared very deeply about people as individuals, treating them with respect and kindness. She was a very loyal and selfless person who devoted herself to making life better for those she loved. Giovanna is survived by her daughter, Gladys M. Rivera-La Scala, her granddaughter, Annamaria N. R. La Scala, her son-in-law, Frank J. La Scala, of Annapolis, nieces and nephews and their children in Italy, New Orleans, and Honduras. She was predeceased by her husband and her brother, Pierluigi Ciucci. Friends may call 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 10 at John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 10 at St. Mary's RC Church in Annapolis, MD. Inurnment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 700, Washington DC 20005 or Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201. For the museum, please include a note with the name of the deceased and designation: Education. Online condolences may be made to www.johnmtaylorfuneralhome.com
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Published in The Capital on July 8, 2014