Michael's Tributes
This tribute was added by Rafael Paulino on January 25, 2020
My condolences to Mike’s Family and may he continue to watch over us . I met Mike at the Clifton YMCA back in 2005 while playing pickup basketball games. His competitive drive always motivate me to play on his team and against his team during our pickup games . And from there we really got to know each and talk about life in general and he gave me great advices . I was very shocked to find out about this news recently .. My greatest memory of Mike is his positive energy and his way of always being a friendly person .
This tribute was added by Larissa De Arce on January 8, 2020
A golden heart stopped beating too soon. Hard working hands now resting. It certainly broke our hearts to see you go so soon .....so young. But your SHORT life was a blessing to many.... a heart full of joy & kindness......and a smile that lit up a room...... such a Beautiful soul! Your memory will be forever treasured.....and truly ... " A MAN REMEMBERED NEVER DIES". Say hello to Papi! Hugs!  :)
This tribute was added by Bill Brown on January 5, 2020
When I think of Mike Riv I remember him as a great basketball player and a master with a deck of cards. I remember going to mecca magic with him and we would bother the guy behind the counter to show us tricks for hours. Eventually we would buy a bunch of tricks then practice for hours. More than any of that, I remember Mike always had a smile on his face and he had the most infectious laugh. He made everyone around him a happier and better person. I was truly blessed to know him and he will never be forgotten.
This tribute was added by Mark Arlauskas on January 4, 2020
I was a good friend of Mike's for most of my childhood. His laugh and smile are unmatched as well as his sense of humor. He had a way of making you feel like the funniest guy in the room because you wanted to keep him laughing. His competitiveness even in silly pickup basketball games was fierce, he definitely made me a tougher athlete. When I started my first year a Kean I was relieved Mike was there as well to help me fit in. I regret not staying close to Michael later on in life but I will cherish my memories forever. His loss was really hard to accept and he will never be forgotten.
This tribute was added by Anthony Latona on January 4, 2020
Michael Rivera. A name that will ring loud forever not only in Clifton, but wherever any of us go in life. I could write about Mike forever, but for his family, please know he was the greatest friend someone could ask for. Kind. Caring. Compassionate. Loving. We shared so many memories. We grew up very similar, two brothers in each family with parents whose love was unmatched. I will forever miss Mike and there’s a million things I want to tell him now, but what hurts worse is what I didn’t say before he left us. I want his beautiful family to know that he touched the lives of so many with his presence alone. His smile and laugh could change your day instantly. I know he’s smiling now and will forever. God bless his family forever.
This tribute was added by Peter Young on December 17, 2019
The passage of time grants us the gift of wearing away the pain of this immeasurable loss, but leaves us with the incredible memories Mike created with us all. Anyone who was lucky enough to have share even a moment with Mike undoubtedly was left with a point in time they can forever look to as a pure experience of joy and happiness.  My family and I count ourselves as supremely blessed to have spent some of happiest time in our lives growing up around Mike. Despite the seemingly overwhelming sadness of his absence, it is utterly impossible for me to think of my cousin and not smile. I am forever grateful to the universe for giving us the chance to have Mike in our lives. And I know he will always give us something to smile about. 

The Youngs
This tribute was added by Justin Arlington on December 4, 2019
Happy belated Riv. Sorry it took so long, I've been so busy but I know you would be proud of me. You were a real one, and that will never be lost on me. You were a better friend to me in the short time we had together than people I was friends with for ten years. Every time I look at the picture of us on my wall, I can't help but smile. Miss you my guy, and I'll always keep you in my heart. Gone but not forgotten, Rest in Peace Mike.
This tribute was added by Nilda Rivera on November 27, 2019
Michael as a toddler was very sweet, loving and funny. At 3 1/2 years old, coming home from visiting my mom in Brooklyn, he wanted for us to stop at Burger King. I didn’t want to stop cause we had just eaten at my mom’s But he insisted and we did stop. He wanted 2 hamburgers, fries and drinks. I was thinking he wanted to share with his brother. As we left Burger King he insisted on carrying the bag. He stopped to give a homeless man his bag of food. Then I remembered that when we were passing the Bowery on our way to Brooklyn (Joe always gave the homeless money). I mentioned that we should’ve bought them food instead. I was very proud of Michael at such an early age showing such compassion. 
This tribute was added by Celeste Michele on November 26, 2019
Mike was always cool to be around, he was very easy to talk to and he made Sophia and Jordan so happy. One of my favorite memories of Mike is when Jordan was first born he couldn't stop giving him kisses... Sophia would look at him and shake her head at him. I came by the house one day, Jordan was about 2/3 weeks old, and Mike was giving Jordan thousands of kisses that day and saying how cute Jordan was, I laughed as I watched them. As I sat there watching, I thought to myself that it was so great to see him be that way with Jordan. He was so happy and so excited to be a dad, Jordan's dad. He didn't hide it at all and to me that was truly a blessing to see and was something I appreciated, about him. I won't ever forget him or that memory of him.
This tribute was added by Kelley Perruso on November 25, 2019
Michael had the most beautiful smile and was always so happy. He was funny and always so nice to everyone. I last saw him at a dinner. We were sitting at the same table and he had me laughing all night. We talked about our children and I just remember his eyes lighting up when he spoke about his son, Jordan. He loved him so much and and you can just tell how proud he was to be his daddy. ❤️

Jordan..your daddy was an amazing person and was loved by so many. He was an awesome athlete and had so many fans (your Abuela was probably his biggest!) He loved you so much and I know He would be very proud of you! 
This tribute was added by Vincent Malba on November 22, 2019
Michael always had a smile on his face. He was always laughing about something. He had a presence that always made you feel good. Michael was always positive and loved competing. He loved his family tremendously. He will always be remembered fondly and greatly missed.
This tribute was added by Dave Beattys on November 22, 2019
The most feared pitcher in southern division was Mike Riv. I was honored to call him a friend of mine for almost 30 years and his smile will never be forgotten. I think about him often and know he’s watching all of us and smiling like he always would. “One of the best”
This tribute was added by Jessica Garcia on November 21, 2019
I met Michael in high school and as anyone who knows him knows that his smile could light up any room that he walked into and his laugh was contagious. I can’t forget to mention his big eyes that he would totally use to make you forgive him if you ever got upset with him for some reason. (Like when he would say Woodrow kids were better then Columbus kids) He was a perfect combination of silly and sweet. I remember so many things about him like his passion for basketball and baseball and his love for his family. He completely idolized his brother and father and always spoke about his family with so much love and respect. He was definitely one of a kind and I am blessed to have known him. I pray his family will find the strength they need to get through every day without him. RIP Michael continue to watch over your family
This tribute was added by John Messina on November 21, 2019
Since I was about 7 years old Michael and his brother joe were like brothers to me. Michael especially. Michael his father joe and myself and my own father would always go to the diner in Clifton after we worked out or boxed at the gym. Michael would come to my house in mahwah and help me practice basketball for middle and high school, we used to meet at any gym, park, or in my own driveway because he had a passion for helping people, and a passion for sports. He was like an older brother to me. I would always go to him for advice and helped me become the man I am today. Losing him was like
Losing one of my own brothers. But I always carry his advice and memories with me at all times. My only wish for his son Jordan is to be great like his father was and to do good things in the world and find the greatest happiness possible. I still miss him everyday but seeing Jordan become the man his father was would help ease the pain of his loss and bring me and his entire family great happiness

Miss you Michael

Love you brother. I’ll see you again someday

This tribute was added by Joslin Joseph on November 21, 2019
When I was middle school, my parents wouldn't let me watch TV. My dad always dropped me off super early and Mike was there early every day too. He would tell me what happened the night before for shows like Martin.
That way when everyone else showed up and started talking about the previous nights show, I would know what happened and would laugh along with everyone. It helped me fit in a little better.
It's funny that I would remember such a small gesture but it speaks volumes for his character.
Rest In Peace Mike.
This tribute was added by Joe Cupoli on November 21, 2019
Michael was my youngest son's basketball coach, life coach, and mentor. I have known Michael's parents for over 25 years and Micheal lived and continues to live in the heart, smile, and soul of his parents Nilda and Joe. He taught my son Jake life skills that can only be taught by a coach; toughness , compassion, and some basketball skills along the way. His smile was infectious and he always had that way of making you feel important, not only as a parent but as a friend. His influence on my son Jake has been a life changing role and even though Michael is not with us on this earth, he lives inside of all of the people that he has touched along the way. Rest in peace my dear friend. You are dearly missed hear on earth.
This tribute was added by Vanessa Angulo on November 21, 2019
I met Michael back in middle school. I went to Christopher Columbus and he went to Woodrow Wilson. He and I knew a lot of the same people and so we ended up at the same places all the time. Like everyone else, I couldn't walk away and not talk to that beautiful smile and those eyes! He and I became friends and had many late night talks laughing and joking! Once high school started I went somewhere else and all my friends went to Clifton High and I lost touch. I know that he loved and respected his family and I can imagine how much he loved and respected his beautiful wife Sophia and his handsome son Jordan. His parents raised an amazing young man. Life isn't always fair, but I pray for all of you every single day! Michael will never be forgotten! RIP Michael and Happy Birthday in Heaven! Say hi to my mom for me! 
This tribute was added by Jenny Colon on November 21, 2019
Happy Birthday Michael! You’re deeply missed. Hope you’re celebrating in heaven Thank you for being such a great father to Jordan, and a great husband to my cousin Sophia❤️
This tribute was added by Eric Escobar on November 21, 2019
When I was first introduced to Michael he immediately greeted me as if I were already family. Even years later that about him never changed. Always a smile, always a joke, always a great attitude, just a pleasure to be around. I really admired that about him. I never expected having to say goodbye so soon but I will never for him.
This tribute was added by Traci Armstrong on November 21, 2019
Great memories of my childhood included you.Playing basketball -at the park you playing baseball and many more..You are loved by many and you are being remember daily by many.You have impacted many people ..
This tribute was added by Mark Stanley on November 21, 2019
My man Riv.  My roommate, teammate, and brother.  I can’t count all the times we were in tears laughing together. It didn’t matter what we were doing, playing ball, or just hanging out, You definitely made it more fun. To this day I still think about things like your character Joseph, your impersonation of Teen Wolf, and they make me laugh out loud. You were definitely special in every sense of the word. It wasn’t just the laughs either. You were a caring friend, an amazing father and husband, a great brother, and the apple of your parents eye. You truly will be missed. My family and I pray for you and your entire family every night.  Just know that every place you went, you made it better, and I’m so grateful to God to have someone like that in my life. God Bless.
This tribute was added by Joe Rivera on November 21, 2019
I had the best childhood growing up with my brother Michael. He truly was my best friend. My fondest memories was playing anything and everything with him. We played wiffle ball, basketball, football, man hunt, video games, you name it we played it. He always made everything fun. He truly made me laugh. As we got older we still had so much fun together. I would just love hanging out watching tv with him and just talking for hours reminiscing and talking about everything. I loved how we were always supporting each other playing and coaching sports. Man did I love watching him play baseball and basketball. Even though he was 4 years younger than me I really looked up to him. He was always positive and gave the best advice. He was such an inspiration. I really just wanted to be like him. I learned so much from him. I am so blessed to have him as my brother. I love and miss him so much. I Thank him for everything he did and is now doing for our family. I hope I make you proud as you made me proud being your brother. I love you.
This tribute was added by Sonia Vasquez Valle on November 21, 2019
Thank you for being such a great husband to my daughter & thank you so so much for my grandson, Jordan. He brings us all so much laughs -he is just like his father. We miss you every single day and promise to always remind Jordan how much you love him. Heavenly Birthday ❤️Prayers
Sonia & Lou
This tribute was added by Kim Puzzo on November 20, 2019
My earliest memories of Michael were when he was a student in the first grade class in the room directly across the hall from the classroom I taught in at School 14. His mom, Nilda was a lunch aide, and every day, after lunch, Nilda would console Michael, who would cry because he didn’t want her to leave. Nilda would look over at me, and we would share a smile, eye roll or chuckle as she showed him some love and persuaded him to go back into the room. Watching Nilda interact with him, showing such love and yet maintaining her sense of humor made me realize what an exceptional mom and person she was. We would joke the next day walking up the hall on the way to the lunchroom about what would happen in 50 minutes when lunch was over. Thus began our enduring friendship, thanks to Michael bringing us together.

Knowing the Riveras meant you would inevitably attend one of Joey or Michael’s games, along with Nilda and Joe, permanent fixtures in the stands. Talking to Nilda, it was never Joey or Michael, it was “my Joey” and “my Michael”. Knowing that Michael felt that love and support his whole life gives me great comfort. I feel his presence when I’m with Nilda and Joe, their love for him is so strong.

I had the honor of attending Michael’s wedding to his beautiful Sophia. I don’t think he stopped smiling all day. I remember thinking how blessed Nilda and Joe were to have both of their boys married off to such spectacular women. I thought then that I had witnessed the happiest day of Michael’s life, until I saw him with Jordan. It was no surprise, that given Michael’s strong bond with his dad, that he would share the same type of relationship with his own son. What a gift it was to Jordan to share the beginning of his life with such an amazing dad, and how fortunate he is that his mom and family keep his memory alive in such beautiful ways. Seeing Jordan brings me back to the early days when I first met Michael, that adorable kid with the big personality and just enough mischief in his blood to insure you would instantly fall in love and never forget his joyful, joy-filled spirit. ❤️
This tribute was added by Michelle Stroble on November 20, 2019
Michael you are truly missed. I still can’t believe your in heaven. I watched you grow up. I remember changing your pampers. I also remember your smile when I walked into your house. Your smile lit up a room. You always made me laugh with your jokes. I still remember looking outside my door and watching you, Joey and your pops playing baseball outside. I used to come to your house, and you and Joey always playing in the room but one thing stands out, I never, never heard you and Joey argue. You guys were best friends. I love you Michael. Happy Birthday in heaven.
This tribute was added by Joe Rivera on November 20, 2019
Michael was a great son. I have so many great memories. Growing up Michael was always kind, funny and compassionate with everything he tackled. Always had a smile and a contagious laugh. Entertain us with his magic. I watched him through little league, high school playing basketball and baseball. Watched him in college playing basketball. I cherished the times we worked together in boxing. Michael was the strength and conditioning coach for my fighters. All my fighters loved him. With all his accomplishments, I never saw him as happy as he was when Jordan was born. He loved him so much. Jordan was his pride and joy!!! Love you Michael! Until we meet again!! Love pop!
This tribute was added by Mary Lynn Ritacco on November 20, 2019
Although I didnt know Michael personally, I know his mom and dad very well, so the kind, caring, loving friends they are, are a reflection on what a wonderful person he was. I've read so many kind and wonderful things about him..also that he was a loving father, husband, brother, uncle and son..another fact was he liked to make people smile. Because of the awesome family he has.and through the perfect words Nilda tells me about him I feel I did know him even though I didn't have the privilege of meeting him. I know as others are..looking down upon his mom and dad, son, wife and family smiling and he knows he is and will always be in their heart..heaven has another angel and his memories will live forever in their minds and heart ❤
This tribute was added by Cynthia Rodeawald-Grove on November 20, 2019
I never met you or Michael. But his mother is my good friend. Knowing Nilda and Joe I can only fathom how beautiful a person Michael was. Jordan seems to be following in his footsteps. What a lovely tribute to a wonderful person. May God care for you and Jordan and his family as Michael is your guardian angel now. God bless. Happy birthday in heaven Michael.
This tribute was added by Miguel Gonzalez on November 20, 2019
To my loving nephew we’ll always have memories of the good times we had together you are always in my thoughts your beautiful smile your kindness and the love you had for everyone Will never be forgotten and will always be cherished for the short time you were here You made a lasting impression on many of us and even those who never really knew you but you were always there for them would just like to wish you a heavenly birthday and let you know That one day we’ll catch up On the past with much love and happiness your uncle Miguel❤️ Let’s go Knicks
This tribute was added by Angela Vasil on November 20, 2019
When my husband, Pete Vasil, took over the Clifton Boys Basketball program, Mike had just graduated.... Both him and his brother Joe, came to welcome him and also work his summer camp. I remember like it was yesterday, Mike's contagious smile, laugh and jokes.... He lit up the room. Joe became an assistant to Pete later on in his tenure and Mike always showed respect and support.
When Mike took over the program, many years later, our daughter, Ariana, did the books for the team... She loved how Mike's energy reminded her of her father and how comforting he was, when she was struggling and had to make a difficult decision to transfer....
Mike also touched upon advising our son, Peter and giving him guidance on his path with the game...
Both Pete and I are truly blessed that we had the opportunity to see Mike blossom into the man he became.
He will always be in our hearts and I will never forget his contagious laugh, and smile!
Blessings and Prayers to all... The Vasil Family
This tribute was added by Veronica Freschi on November 20, 2019
I was Michael's art teacher during the time he spent  at School Fourteen in Clifton. He was a precious child and I had no doubt he would grow into the man he did. Michael was caring and generous, his personality shown through every project he made. He had lots of friends and was a very popular student. Michael tackled his work with enthusiasm and gusto and it was my pleasure to have him in my class. Rest in peace dear Michael.
This tribute was added by Chris Ferrante on November 20, 2019
Mikey riv...... I wish you were here brother. I knew you since i was. About 7 years old . we grew together playing baseball , wiffleball, basketball ect. You always made me feel like I was the funniest person on earth cause I could always bring you to tear with you infectious laugh..( I am laughing outloud right now thinki g about your great laugh) we had soo much fun together as kids. Take splice in the fact that now aftet being a great kid , its crazy to think you now have a great kid of your own.. I wish I lived closer to help keep an eye on him , but its prob not neccessarry because he has a great mom and two of the best people I ever had the homer of knowing in your mom amd dad . wow are they amazing. You would be soo proud of Jordan who when I still think about the speech he made at your wake still can bring me to tears. What a great kid you helped raise amd is now in the hands of great people. I miss ya ya and love you brother. 
This tribute was added by Mrs. Sophia Rivera on November 20, 2019
My husband, Michael, was the most Beautiful soul I have ever known! The very first time I saw Michael, his smile took my breath away. Michael's presence resonated! It was as if Michael was glowing! I was only 19 years old and Michael was 23- At that time, I will never forget calling my mother that night and saying "I met my future husband...!" wow, Luckily for me, the feeling was mutual & Michael always made me feel like I was the most special person to him. Michael taught me what REAL LOVE should feel like. His hug was the only embrace that made me feel so secure, so loved! Michael's love was so pure; so beautiful....he was my everything. Loving Michael was the only thing in my life that I was ever sure of ...
I am the most blessed woman to have Mike choose me to be his Wife, his Life Partner and the Mother of his Child. Michael was my best friend.
When I saw the love Michael had for his mother- for his father & brother, it made me appreciate him all the more! Everyone who knew Michael, knows how genuine his love of his family was and there are simply no words to express the immense loss we all feel. Michael's smile and laughter, his jokes, his conversation, his personality were the absolute heart of our family. The only refuge in our despair is a beautiful boy who carries on Michael's legacy, Jordan Rivera. 

There is no "moving on" from our grief,             
simply "moving forward" as Michael would expect us to. 
We all pray for the strength to get through each day without the most beautiful soul we have ever known. Today, I find my purpose in raising Jordan, and I always remind my son of how amazing his father was...Please join me in simply using this website that I've created to honor Michael. Feel free to reminisce, add pictures and share in the love we all have for Michael. Nothing is too long, or too short, or too silly- this memorial website for Michael is an open forum to express all that comes to heart when you realize what a blessing Michael's life was to this world. My hope is that Jordan can rely on us all to paint the picture of who his father was- since he is still so young. Michael loved our son so much - the adoration he had for Jordan is like no other! Your prayers for healing, strength and continued support are much appreciated as I continue to raise our son, Jordan. Everyday, it is surreal not to have my beautiful husband by my side- yet still, I rise....and I thank God for the beautiful blessing of Michael's life!

-Sophia Rivera-

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