Helen Joanne Rivera (1931-2019)

Helen Joanne Rivera (Keller), known to family and friends as Joanne, 88 years of Archbold, OH passed away on June 6, 2019 at Fairlawn Haven Nursing home, Archbold. 

Joanne was born March 28, 1931 in Eureka, IL, the daughter of the late Emil and Ann (Roth) Keller. She was a 1949 graduate of Eureka Consolidated High School. Joanne went to Goshen College for 2 years and then to LaJuata Mennonite School of Nursing in LaJuata, CO for 3 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing for Goshen College.

After graduation, her nursing experience included the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and Jefferson Medical Hospital in Philadelphia, PA where she was a nursing student instructor. She later moved to Puerto Rico where she worked in voluntary service for the Mennonite Mission Board.  There, she met Lenin Rivera, MD and they married in 1963. After the wedding, they went back to Puerto Rico and Joanne worked in Lenin’s office in Aguas Buenas, PR and also as a head nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in San Jaun, PR.

 In 1968, they moved back to the states, living for a short time in Toledo, OH before settling in Pioneer, OH to open an office. Later Lenin moved his office to Montpelier, OH where Joanne worked as a nurse until Lenin retired. While they worked in Montpelier, the couple lived for 29 years in West Unity, OH, where they were members of Salem Mennonite Church in Waldron, MI. After Lenin’s death in 2002, Joanne moved to Archbold, OH and attended West Clinton Mennonite Church in Wauseon, OH. 

Joanne was preceded in death by her husband, Lenin, her brothers Robert (Ruth) Keller, Roger Keller, Ronald Keller, sisters Dorothy (George) Unger, Carol (Bruce) Jones, and one grandson, Jordan Rivera. Surviving are sons William “Bill” Rivera, Dr. Alan (Janie) Rivera, Michael Rivera, and daughter Brenda (Arlan) Beck: seven grandchildren Danielle Pacey, Sarah (Justin) Weirich, Christian (Taylor) Beck, Jennifer Beck (fiancé, Nicholas Zenz), Ruth Beck, Sydni Rivera, and MacKenzi Rivera and one great grandson, Levi Weirich.

Visitation for Joanne will be held from 5 pm to 8 pm on Tuesday, June 11, at West Clinton Mennonite Church, 18029 Co. Rd. C, Wauseon, OH. A celebration of life service will be held at 11 am on Wednesday, June 12, at West Clinton Mennonite Church with Pastor Dee Custar officiating with a meal following the service. Private graveside committal service will take place at Floral Grove cemetery, West Unity, OH. 

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider memorial contributions to be made to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) or Salem Mennonite Church, Waldron, MI. 


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