Ismael Rivera Soler (also know as Ish and Maelo), passed away on Thursday July 28, 2011 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Born January 29, 1933 in Santurce, Puerto Rico to Enrique Rivera (father) and Rosa Maria Soler (mother), Ismael was one of seven siblings (Ruben, Rafael, Socorro, Hector, Efrain, Jose Antonio, and Enrique). He attended the University of Puerto Rico and it was there that he met Alicia Ramos Yordan who Ismael then married on May 31, 1958. Alicia was a registered surgical nurse for over 30 years at the Veterans Hospital in Puerto Rico. Ismael and Alicia were blessed with two children, Ismael Rivera Ramos (Junito) and Sharon Alicia Rivera Ramos. They shared their life together until August 6, 2008 when Alicia passed away.
He attended Central High School in Santurce, Puerto Rico and following graduation, voluntarily enlisted in the US Army and served with honor in Germany 1951-1953. Upon his return from serving in the US Armed Forces, he joined the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Police Academy and after graduation became a policeman in Manati, Puerto Rico. After several years in the police force, he became a Dispatch Inspector with the Metropolitan Bus Authority (Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses – AMA). While at the AMA he organized and successfully formed the first labor union representing Mechanics and Inspectors at the AMA. Shortly after the union certification at the AMA, he was hired as a national union organizer by the AFL-CIO in Puerto Rico. He later became the first National Representative in Puerto Rico for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), headquartered in Washington DC). After a successful career of over 20 years with AFGE, he retired.
Shortly after retirement, Ismael and Alicia moved to Cape Coral, FL where they lived for over two years and Ismael became a dedicated fisherman, piloting his pontoon boat through the canals of Cape Coral with Alicia. Thereafter, for health reasons, and to be closer to Ismael Jr. and Sharon, they moved to Silver Spring, Maryland. At that point, Ismael and Alicia became "snowbirds," spending the winter months in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico and the rest of the year in Maryland.
In recent years, he was a member of the Mision Hispana at Hughes United Methodist Church, served as Vice President of the Laryngectomee Club of Montgomery County, was a member of the American Legion, and "owned" a team in the Coqui Fantasy Baseball League. While living in Puerto Rico, Ismael also served on the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico VA Federal Credit Union. During the last 6 years, he became an avid fan of the Washington Nationals, attending many games with friends and family. But his favorite pastimes were playing with his younger granddaughter, "Alicita," and watching Tim and Julia, his older grand kids, participate in performances and athletic teams in high school and college.
Ismael is survived by his son Ismael Rivera Ramos, daughter Sharon Alicia Rivera Ramos, brother Rafael Rivera Soler, sister Maria Socorro Rivera Soler, and grandchildren, Timothy and Julia A. Rivera Roberts and Alicia Marie Rivera Donahue.
A private burial service is planned in Puerto Rico.