3 rob dying man in hospital
Monday, November 30, 2009
November 30, 2009 (WPVI) -- He was an icon in the Philadelphia Puerto Rican community. And in the end police say the man who was revered by many was robbed as he lay dead in the waiting area of a hospital emergency room.
With his skillful artistry as a musician and long track record in the community, 63-year-old Joaquin Rivera was easily the most frequent guest on 6abc's Puerto Rican Panaroma.
"He was also someone who was very active in a number of community based organizations, always fighting to insure that Latino's were and are part of the Philadelphia landscape," said Wilfredo Rojas.
"Let me tell you this guy was great, a great loss, great great loss," said Oscar Rosario who was a close friend.
The story of Joaquin Rivera is portrayed in a mural at 5th and Somerset. He moved here from Puerto Rico when he was 18-years-old. He worked at a factory while going to night school to learn English and complete his GED. Late he studied at community college and Rutgers. For the last 30 years he was a counselor at Olney High School and his family says his second home was the church.
"He was a great man, I can honestly say I've never met a man like him, he's the greatest person I've ever known, I don't think he was a man, I consider him a saint," said Joaquin Rivera Jr.
Tragically, Rivera Sr., who suffered from high blood pressure, experienced chest pains Saturday night and walked himself two blocks to the emergency room of Aria Health Frankford Hospital.
Police say while waiting to see a doctor he died while sitting in the waiting room and was robbed of his watch by 3 other people in the room. One of them, 45-year-old Richard Alten of Port St. Lucy, Florida has been arrested and charged. Two others are being sought.
But that is not how Rivera's family wants him to be remembered.
"I want him to be remembered for what he did to preserve the Puerto Rican culture in Philadelphia. That was his idea that every kid born knew his roots," said is wife Maria. While the police investigation is ongoing, services for Rivera are being finalized. A viewing will be held at Givnish Funeral Home on Red Lion Road Friday night and another viewing and funeral Mass on Saturday morning at St. Ambrosio Catholic Church at 6th and Venango.