R. Michael Rivers, age 79, died in his home on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 after a difficult battle with cancer. Born on August 23, 1938, he lived most of his young life in Jefferson, TX where he was Valedictorian of his High School class. In 1963, after obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree from University of Texas at Austin, he married and moved to his beloved Albuquerque where he lived for 54 years. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from University of New Mexico and began his 30+ year career as a guidance counselor for Albuquerque Public Schools. In his tenure with APS, he worked at Rio Grande High School, Hayes Middle School, Emerson Elementary School, and Eisenhower Middle School. Michael had a passion for working with children, especially those who were at high risk of dropping out of school. After retirement from APS, he worked for Westadt Educational Testing to evaluate school programs and performance. He was a dedicated educator and believed that a solid education was the core of success for current and future generations.
Michael was a lover of classical music and sang in the New Mexico Symphony Chorus for over 20 seasons. He also served as Chorus President for several years. He was deeply involved with the Episcopal Church and served on the vestry and as the Senior Warden at St. Thomas of Canterbury. Most recently, he was an active member at St. Michael’s and All Angels, where he enjoyed singing in the choir with his wife, Jane. Michael was a true renaissance man. He designed and built three of his homes, participated in several triathlons and bike races, and enjoyed riding his Harley throughout New Mexico and Colorado. He was an avid reader, loved to cook, and was a great conversationalist and storyteller. He helped to write a local melodrama with his good friend, Jo White (still playing after 40 years) and directed several amateur productions, including Benjamin Britton’s Noah’s Floode, in which he played a very believable Noah.
Michael was preceded in death by his father, Richard Truett Rivers; his mother, Faun Shaw; dearly loved step-mother, Sarah Audean “Wessie” Rivers; and his brothers, Ricky Rivers and Ray Shaw. He is survived by his wife, Jane Bowes; daughters, Angela Faun Breidenbach and Tanya Rivers Granados; sons-in-law, David Breidenbach and Anthony Granados; sisters, Lisa Hurst, Camilla Rivers, and Nema Audean LeCuyer; four granddaughters, Rachel Tierney Whippo, Emily Paige Breidenbach, Capri Granados, and Karah Granados; and one great- grandson, Augustine Lynden Whippo.
Michael was a loving father, husband, and great friend to many. His wit and wisdom will be greatly missed. We love you!
A Memorial Service for Michael will take place on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church, 601 Montano Rd. NW, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Michael’s and All Angels Preschool (memo: Michael Rivers Memorial Fund).