Memorial Spaceflights

Julio Rivera

"Forever among the stars. Loved for eternity."
1929 - 2021

Julio “Jay” Rivera was an engineer–a perfect career, as he was principled and disciplined. But he was also a GREAT dancer! Kind of unusual for an engineer, but I, his wife, enjoyed that talent for 67 years. We met dancing and would hit the floor anytime we got a chance.

A man who revered education and whose goal was to work in the aerospace industry, Jay earned two degrees, in Mechanical engineering in 1957 and Electrical engineering in 1962, both from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Years later, he and his daughter earned their MBAs together at Long Beach State University in SoCal.

Jay enjoyed his long career in guidance and control, working 28 years for McDonnell-Douglas before retiring—for the first time! He decided he was too young to sit around and returned to engineering a year later, enjoying another 28 years with The Aerospace Corporation. His work with the latter was uniquely rewarding and brought him to Vandenberg many times for many launches; he would be gratified to know that his and his daughter Robin’s ashes are being sent into the heavens from a place so meaningful.

Jay was a supportive, loving, loyal husband, father, brother, godfather, grandfather, father-in-law, and friend. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. It is fitting that we will be able to look up to the heavens and know he is there, with us always, our heavenly star.

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