May 26, 2022

Maryland Heights Residents

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Rivera Funeral Homes GM speaks about grief, the pandemic and his father’s legacy | Business

5 min read

Amos Rivera, the longtime operator of a person of New Mexico’s oldest and major mortuary corporations, Rivera Funeral Houses, died on Jan. 14.

For over 60 years, Rivera had serviced countless numbers of family members, managed funeral preparations and aided prospects by means of the mourning of liked ones. Apart from the company’s site in Taos (818 Paseo del Pueblo Sur) they have other locations in Española, Los Alamos and Santa Fe, the place they also function a community cemetery. Just lately, the enterprise introduced an “investment partnership” with Security Countrywide Economic Company, a company primarily based in Salt Lake City. 

Tim Rivera, general supervisor of Rivera Funeral Properties and son to Amos, stated that there will be no modifications to functions as a final result of the current acquisition. Rivera stated that the partnership will allow them to extend and grant their workers ownership of the organization. Rivera will carry on to be a part owner and stakeholder of the enterprise. 

Rivera spoke with the Taos News above the mobile phone about the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business enterprise and on his personalized lifetime. He also shared perception on his own grieving approach and upcoming ideas for the business enterprise.

The pursuing job interview has been edited for clarity and size. 

Q: What led your father to start the organization?

A: So, my dad was a Korean War veteran, and when he received out, he had the GI Monthly bill. He desired to use his education and learning for a little something. He knew he didn’t want to work on the loved ones farm. 

Kind of a amusing tale. He did one of those…[career assessment tests] And it detailed a funeral director. He experienced in no way worked at a funeral residence. But he considered those people men use fits and push large autos and that was better than operating on the farm. 

But, my father was truly a incredibly kind man or woman. He was a pretty persons-oriented human being. 

Q: When did the enterprise commence?

A: My father took around the two previous businesses in Taos — the Hanlan and Garcia companies. The Hanlan business commenced in 1933 and it was just one of the oldest funeral enterprises in New Mexico. 

My dad took these above and started out get the job done in 1958.

I feel it was in 2000 I ordered the enterprise from my dad. We were the final relatives-owned funeral house in Northern New Mexico amongst Taos and Santa Fe. 

Q: What led you to stick to in your father’s footsteps?

A: Our loved ones grew up higher than the funeral home. And so we didn’t genuinely know anything at all different…that was our lifetime. It truly is just a single of these things that as you are expanding up, we ended up anticipated to support out where ever we could. Since it was a 24-hour work.

Q: How did growing up earlier mentioned a funeral residence influence your childhood?

Effectively, it designed for a really exclusive and uncommon childhood. Mainly because, we grew up hearing the seems of the Los Hermanos Penitentes.  Which is something really nicely-known in New Mexico. We grew up listening to all the outdated traditions and rituals, you know, encompassing the demise of a liked 1. That was our childhood. And I feel it also created for a special encounter for our good friends (chuckles) since they’d arrive more than and hang out at the funeral household.

Q: How a lot of families and people have you serviced more than the many years? This previous calendar year?

A: Tens of 1000s. And this past yr, as a result of all of our places of work, we served by our funeral properties and cemeteries all-around 1,300 people.

Q: How will operations adjust just after the new purchase by Protection National Financial Company?

A: Our collaboration with Safety Countrywide is a quite distinctive problem. It truly is not that I bought all my enterprise, I saved some of the stock…

There’ll be no changes, I’m continue to the normal manager, funeral director and there’ll be no improvements at all. 

And we individual the biggest group cemetery in Santa Fe and it can be pretty much out of plots. They are likely to assistance us increase the cemetery and also commenced a environmentally friendly mother nature cemetery for Northern New Mexico. A green mother nature cemetery is in which you use mountain terrain wherever you plant a tree where by a man or woman is buried. They can use a basic pine casket for the burial.

There’s been these big funeral household chains just after me to offer the small business. My dad and I had been certainly versus that. But Stability National is owned by the Quist spouse and children — they’re the bulk homeowners. And so by becoming a member of with them they meet the conditions that they are household-owned. The other detail was that, you know, we needed our employees to have ownership. 

Q: What was it like getting open in the early months of the pandemic? 

A: Really frankly, it was incredibly frightening. And the reason why was we had been not in a position to just near our offices and do the job from dwelling. We had to even now provide and enable individuals get as a result of the reduction of a liked one. And it was really challenging for our workers, because numerous periods we had been heading out in hazmat fits when a individual died of COVID. Our staff members was frightened for the reason that they didn’t know what they were getting property to their households. 

I want to say, I am so happy of our personnel. They all stayed on and worked by means of very tough instances. And it was emotionally and physically exhausting, and they ought to have a great volume of credit rating due to the fact we managed virtually hundreds of COVID fatalities above the past few of many years.

Q: What assistance do you normally give family members to assistance them as a result of grief?

A: The advice I give them is that it really is likely to be a extensive street. They are going to come to feel really isolated because grief and dying is incredibly isolating. And [remind them] to make guaranteed to achieve out to the group and keep on to use neighborhood sources. We are a local community resource, Golden Willow Retreat is a community useful resource, people’s churches and their people are the most effective sources. And not to just to transform inward for the reason that loss of life can be a incredibly lonely spot.

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