Alta Vista Mortuary
41 East Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
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John Lewis Rivers Sr.

1925 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
John Lewis Rivers Sr. Obituary
SALINAS – John Lewis Rivers Sr., 88, passed away on Saturday, September 21, 2013. He was born on July 21, 1925 in Hampton County, South Carolina.
John enlisted in the Army in 1943 in Hampton County at the age of 18. After completing boot camp at Ft. Hood Texas, he was on his way to Europe to fight the Nazis during WWII. In June 1944 his unit participated in the initial assault at Normandy Beach in France. John received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during the Battle of the Bulge.
John married his sweetheart, Mary, in 1947 and had three children before he joined the Korean War effort in 1950. Mary and John were blessed with two more children in 1952 and 1954.
In 1962 he was transferred to Germany with his family where he was stationed in Stuttgart and Schweinfurt for three years. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer in 1963. In 1965, John was transferred to Fort Ord, California. In 1966, the U.S. Army called on him once again to support the war effort in South Vietnam.
Upon his return from Vietnam in 1967, John retired from Active Duty service as a Chief Warrant Officer Two. John is a true American hero with many awards, commendations and honors including: The Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal (four awards), National Defense Medal (two awards), Europe-Africa Middle East Campaign Medal (five awards), WWII Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Korean War Service Medal (two medals), Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, United Nations Korean Service Medal, M-14 Rifle (expert) Device, M1 Rifle (sharpshooter), Device and many more certificates of commendation.
After 22 years of exceptional service to his country, John, Mary and their five children settled in San Benancio Canyon, Salinas, California. John was an automotive prodigy who served the community well as a business owner and friend. Known as the "Mayor of Harper Canyon", John selflessly looked after his neighbors and his community for 58 faithful years.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Edna Rivers; daughters, Carole Russell and Marlene Rivers; parents, William Hersey Rivers and Mary Rosella Rivers; siblings, William Martin Rivers, Sara Rosa Lee Rivers and William Delano Rivers.
John is survived by his daughter, Barbara L. Rivers of Salinas; daughter, Lois A. Brennan of Los Molinos; son, John L. (Tami) Rivers, Jr. of Salinas; eight grandchildren: Kerri L. (Scott) Russell-Bates of Oregon, Padraic I. (Angela) Russell of Oregon, Misty D. (Mike) Hummel of Salinas, Jeremy G. (Noelle) Merrill of San Diego, Nathan A. Brennan of Salinas, Lynette R. Brennan of Los Molinos, Lacy L. (Jon) Howerton of Arizona, Katherine R. Rivers of Valencia, CA; seven great-grandchildren: sisters, Lucy N. Altman of South Carolina, Bobbi J. Huber of Salinas, Mary "Libbie" E. (Will) Sanford of South Carolina; and numerous nieces, nephews and his beloved cat, "Tia".
Visitation will be held from 1:00pm to 7:00pm on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at Alta Vista Mortuary, 41 East Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93901.
Funeral Service will be held 1:00pm on Friday, September 27, 2013 at Alta Vista Mortuary, 41 East Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93901. Immediately following the service, A Celebration of Life will be held at Villa Serra, 1320 Padre Drive, Salinas, CA 93901.
Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Post 6849, P.O. Box 702, Spreckels, CA 93962.
Arrangements are by Alta Vista Mortuary, 41 East Alisal Street in Salinas. To offer online condolences, visit: www.altavistamortuary.com.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Sept. 26, 2013
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