Cover photo for Carmen I Rivas Ortiz's Obituary
Carmen I Rivas Ortiz Profile Photo

Carmen I Rivas Ortiz

May 17, 1935 — June 29, 2021

AIKEN, SC - Mrs. Carmen I. Rivas Ortiz, 86, widow of Liberato Santiago Vega, passed away Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at home, surrounded by family.

     Born May 17, 1935 in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, Carmen was the daughter of the late Jose Antonio Rivas and Maria Ortiz Colon. Orocovis, known as el Corazón de Puerto Rico, is where she grew up, where her family tree was rooted, and where she would meet her future husband, Liberato. It was in Orocovis where they married and started a family. Seven of their children were born in Orocovis. 

     In 1963, they left the island and moved their young family to Waltham, Massachusetts. Carmen and Liberato spent fifteen years in Waltham, adding three more children to their family, working, sending their children to school, and putting down roots in the community. After years of missing their beloved Puerto Rico, Carmen and Liberato moved their family back to Orocovis in 1979. There they built a beautiful home on a hilltop, where years of happy memories were made. Later, they settled in Cayey, and left the island after Hurricane Maria in 2017. They moved to Aiken, South Carolina to be close to their daughter and family. 

     In those places and throughout those years in Orocovis, Waltham, Cayey and South Carolina, Carmen was a devoted wife, sister, mother and grandmother. She was the corazón de la familia. Calm and steady, loving and kind, lending her strength, offering gentle guidance or a listening ear. She maintained relationships with her family no matter the distance between them. She shared a special bond with her sister Eva. An uncommon and singular connection built on a lifetime of love and understanding.

     She was a faithful Catholic. Her devotion to God and family were central in her life. Each day she prayed, quietly and dutifully. She offered blessings or bendiciones to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

     Carmen is lovingly remembered by her children, Jose, his wife Sandy, Liberato (deceased), Jim, his wife Kathy, Gerry his former wife Gail, Ruth, her husband Bill, Nelly, her husband Jerry, Zulma her husband Paul(deceased), Eddy, his former wife Donna, Jeffrey (deceased) with Donna his life long partner, Steve, his former wife Wilda; twenty-two grandchildren; a number of great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Lucy Melendez, Antonio Rivas (Toñito), Neftali Melendez (Taly), Eva Maria Rivas, Jose Alberto Rivas (Beltito), Jose Benito Rivas (Pepe); sisters-in-law, Lourdes, Carmen Socorro, Haydee and Lucia.  

     In addition to her husband Liberato, her parents and two sons (above) she was preceded in death by sisters and brothers, Elisa Rivas, Idale Saez, Ishmael Rivas, Hector Rivas (Cholo)

     For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. - Romans 14:8

     Que Dios te bendiga Nana.

     A private service will be held at a later date in Waltham, MA. 

     In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Regency SouthernCare Hospice in her honor (


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