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John Lewis Rivers Sr.
John Lewis Rivers Sr., 88, of Salinas, passed away Saturday, September 21, 2013. He was born July 21, 1925, in Hampton County, South Carolina.
John enlisted in the Army in 1943 in Hampton County, S.C. at the age of 18. After completing boot camp at Ft. Hood Texas, he was on his way to Europe to fight the Nazi's 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. 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 (4 awards), National Defense Medal (2 awards), Europe-Africa Middle East Campaign Medal (5 awards), WWII Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Korean War Service Medal (2 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. John was an automotive prodigy that 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; and 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; 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 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Alta Vista Mortuary, 41 East Alisal St., Salinas, CA 93901.
Funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, September 27, 2013, at Alta Vista Mortuary, 41 East Alisal St., 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 by Alta Vista Mortuary, 831-424-9700.
Online condolences: www.altavistamortuary.com
Published in The Salinas Californian on Sept. 25, 2013
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