Authentic • Compassionate • Dedicated
For over 80 years, Rivera Family Funeral Home has been proudly serving the families of their community. With locations in Santa Fe, Espanola, Taos, and Los Alamos, New Mexico, the family-owned business provides a wide range of services that leave a lasting impression that families will never forget. The New Mexico funeral home firm is proud to offer some of the most unique and beautiful chapels in their area to the families they serve. The Rivera legacy also operates the Rio Grande Crematory located in Espanola and Santa Fe Memorial Gardens in Santa Fe.
“I am a second-generation funeral director. I grew up above a funeral home,” begins Tim Rivera, Owner of Rivera Family Funeral Home. “Like many, I never thought I would end up working in the business and planned on doing something else, but as time would tell – I couldn’t stay away and eventually took over for my father,” he continues.
Tim attended San Francisco State University, the University of New Mexico and graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science.
The start of the Rivera legacy dates back to1958 in Pueblo, Colorado where Tim’s parents, Amos & Adina Rivera, opened a funeral home.
“My parents started the business in 1958 and after years of successful operation we sold that location in 1990. They also had a second funeral home in Taos, New Mexico that I purchased from them in 2000. From there, I have either bought out or started three other funeral homes,” explains Tim.
The Santa Fe location consists of the Memorial Gardens Cemetery and the newly constructed Chapel of Light. Since 1954 it has been a non-denominational cemetery open to everyone in the community. The Chapel of Light is a unique sacred space and venue for life celebrations, gatherings, memorial and funeral services that embodies both the unique architectural and spiritual cultural diversity of Santa Fe. For the first time in Santa Fe, families will be able to do everything in one place including services, ceremonies, receptions, burial, inurnment or the scattering of ashes in the cremation gardens.
“The Santa Fe chapel is only five years old, but in that short time it has won architectural awards and been the topic of discussion in magazines. Known as the Chapel of Light, it is truly a sight to see. The chapel gets in name from the way incorporates light into the design. It has winter and summer solstice windows so that during each solstice the light strikes in the center of the room,” Tim describes proudly.
The large Taos chapel has been described as having a warm and relaxed authentic northern New Mexico ambiance with an expansive and beautiful lobby filled with stunning artwork. The chapel is perfect for any type of religious service and perfect for non-denominational services, ceremonies and gatherings. Although the chapel can seat over 250 guests, it can also be divided into a smaller space for more intimate gatherings. The lobby is a convenient place to gather with family and friends after services with light refreshments if desired.
The Espanola facility is located on the banks of the Rio Grande River. The two light filled chapels include antique stained-glass windows dating back to the 1920’s that were previously in Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Pojoaque. Both chapels create a quiet and elegant setting for all denominations and beliefs. The Rivera family is proud to be serving Espanola families since 1948 in this same location formerly known as Block-Salazar Mortuary.
The Los Alamos is the newest of the four locations and was designed to provide convenience for funeral and cremation planning for the residents in the area. This location handles all aspects of funeral planning and cremations services. The office is warm and welcoming, with a small chapel and gathering area.
“We are glad to finally have a location in Los Alamos and to be able to provide our personalized services to the families of that area,” expresses Tim.
The Rivera team serves families at their unique facilities day in and day out, but when they are not planning services and carrying out their duties as a funeral home, the team spends most of their time giving back to the community.
“The list of what we are not involved in would be shorter,” jokes Tim. “It’s such a long list, I don’t even know where to begin. We are member of virtually every club in our area, but the one that I am the most proud of is a grief support group I helped start 18 years ago along with a local grief therapist – the center has been very impactful and has become widely recognized in the community,” Tim states humbly.
The community grief center is not located in the Rivera facilities, but they are the sponsors and are very involved in keeping it running smoothly. The center is open to the general public and has warranted nothing but positive reviews.
One of the main reasons that the Rivera legacy has been so successful is the family’s forward-thinking mindset. The New Mexico firm has never let the industry standard of what a funeral should be confine them to a mold – something their families’ value deeply. The funeral industry is so much more than going through the motions and providing the same service time and time again. At Rivera, they embrace the unique and aim to provide service beyond what was even thought to be attainable.
“Our funeral homes are very much designed for the families of the future in terms of being cremation friendly and embracing alternative families. We have offered green burial options and natural products for years in our cemeteries, our facilities are non-traditional, our staff has been trained to create events rather than a cookie cutter service. Pushing outside of the box is just who we are, and it’s given us a great reputation. I consider myself a very progressive and open-minded funeral director, and I think that has been a major factor in our success,” Tim relates.
With unique facilities, unmatched customer service, and outside-the-box planning, it’s no surprise that the Rivera Family Funeral Home has left families raving about their experiences.
“At a time in their lives where families may not be expecting exceptional care or a wow factor, we go above and beyond. When it comes to planning a funeral or a memorial service, there is a stigma that the process gets put on auto pilot, but for us it’s all about making it engaging. This all stems from training our funeral directors to be excellent listeners and to take the information they absorb to create a one of a kind experiences for our families. Each service with us is unique, and that is something we are really proud of,” shares Tim. “Discovering new solutions for very complex customers is my favorite part about working in this industry. Our cemetery is very unique, and our facilities are unlike anything else, so matching our services to meet those brand standards is something I really enjoy,” he continues.
As a funeral professional, if you are looking for inspiration or to push the boundaries of the way you currently conduct business, Tim points to the importance of forming relationships with other progressive funeral directors.
“Find the most unique and progressive funeral directors and spend time with them and learn how you can be better and how you can better your funeral home. Share your ideas and absorb some of theirs. Create new ideas together. Share knowledge. We are stronger and can better serve our families when we work together,” advises Tim.
In an area where all the funeral homes have been purchased by acquisition groups, Tim is proud that the Rivera name has remained family owned.
“The fact that we have been able to not only survive this fast-changing climate, but that we have been eager to move forward is so rewarding to me. We are always looking forward to the future and looking for ways to push ourselves to better serve our community. I am blessed to have a team of people that feels the same way I do about change – embracing it makes us stronger,” he concludes. FBA