Obituary of Virginia Fabro Rivera
Virginia Fabro Rivera
Virginia Fabro Rivera of Spring Valley, NY entered the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, just after midnight on Friday, May 30, 2020 at the age of 79. She was surrounded by her family, her son, Clifford F. Rivera, daughter, Mercedes R. Khan, son in-law, Anthony H. Khan, grandson, Phoenix M. Khan, youngest brother, Primo Fabro, and nephew, Diosdado Maracha.
Virgie or Bening, as her family and friends would so affectionately call her, was born on
March 7, 1941 and is the third oldest child of Benjamin L. Fabro and Aurelia E. Fabro. She was born and raised in the vegetable capital of Pias, Villasis, Pangasinan, Philippines with seven other siblings, Sergio Fabro, Victoria F. Maracha, Manuel Fabro, Napoleon Fabro, Cristino Fabro, Romulo Fabro and Primo Fabro.
From an early age as a child, Virginia learned the importance of having a good work ethic by helping her parents and siblings on their farms, rice fields, as well as raising and selling farm animals. Virginia also had big dreams to become a Registered Nurse. So, she studied hard and by 1967, she graduated from the University of Pangasinan and earned her degree in Nursing from the Dagupan Colleges. By 1972, Virginia made the decision to join her fellow college mates on the journey to the United States, in which it was the most extraordinary opportunity she could ever receive. During that era, nurses were in such high demand from all over the world, although most of them came from the Philippines .
After two years of staying with relatives in California and enjoying learning the new found culture, she moved to New York City where she began her career as a Registered Nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), specializing in the cardiac and pulmonary units.
In 1974, she met a handsome fellow named Sixto E. Rivera in an elevator of a friend's apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan. She would say, “He is so guapo” or “He looks just like Victor Wood”, who is best known as a famous actor/singer, and politician of the Philippines. They were obviously smitten with each other and over the moon in love that they only had a one year courtship. So, by not wasting anymore time, Virginia and Sixto finally married on September 6, 1975 in St. Lukes Lutheran Church in New York City.
Soon after the wedding, they immediately began their life by having their first born son, Cliff and then four years later, their daughter, Mercy. Once, their family was complete, Sixto, Virgie, Cliff and Mercy moved to the suburbs of Rockland County in Spring Valley, NY.
Virginia, Sixto and her parents were able to create a beautiful home with a big garden that took up the entire backyard that was filled with many different and exotic vegetables and flowers. With her “green thumb” and their expertise, they've managed to be highly recognized and even received an award for the best garden by the Filipino Association of Rockland.
Virginia is highly known for her many sacrifices and hard work. She was a wife and mother, all while commuting back and forth to the VA Hospital, sometimes working 16 hour shifts, as well as working with other hospitals for seven days a week. She also worked as a private duty nurse around Rockland County and specialized in caring for patients in the Jewish Orthodox community of New Square.
Virginia was very proud of her career but that did not necessarily define who she was. It was her humbling nature and selfless act of giving and providing shelter and love to so many. It is because of her countless efforts, that most of her extended family exists today and now reside here in the states from their home country. She was always focused on the happiness of her two children. Therefore, having her brothers, only sister, and their children around was crucial to her. The amount of love she poured onto her own family and extended family was always consistent, profound and deeply felt.
Those that know Virginia would agree that her presence was always with a warm smile with dimples on both cheeks and a squint of her right eye that showed people her overall happiness and enjoyment for gathering together. But there was just one thing that was always her number one priority that radiated through her. It was her love for our Heavenly Father God and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
During her early years, Virginia experienced different Christian churches and denominations, until one day in the very late 90's, with the influence of close friends and family, she joined International Christian Fellowship. She was incredibly moved by Pastor Samson Abad with his leadership to the congregation and messages as well as the beautiful, heavenly sounds of the ICF choir, originally lead by David Hanson. While renewing her faith and acceptance of Christ that resulted in getting baptized, she of course joined the ICF choir for which she had a love for singing hymns to her children while they grew up. She always expressed the comfort it brought her when listening and singing songs of Praise and Worship.
Throughout the early 2000's, after becoming a Born Again Christian, Virgie's life had begun to change as she grew older with experiencing illness, eventually beating it but then having to care for her husband, Sixto, who then also became ill. Though it may have seemed sad to some, she did not have any regrets because of her devotion and unconditional love for her husband. There were many sacrifices and struggles she still endured but that did not stop her bravery and determination for an abundant life.
By 2007, Virginia was able to finally put down her gloves, stethoscope and scrubs by retiring with honor from the VA Hospital. Her plan was to enjoy life with Sixto to their best ability, spend as much time with Cliff and Mercy and continue her love for her garden. Of course she never missed one Sunday of Church services.
In 2009, Virgie got to watch her only daughter marry the love of her life, Anthony H. Khan, whom she greatly approved and admired for Mercedes. She had a connection to her new son in-law. Their common values of family and work ethic was something she cherished very much. She always thought of Anthony as her own son and had a deep feeling of responsibility to protect him from and hardships that may come.
On September 1, 2012, Virgie received the greatest gift of all. She became Lola (grandmother in Tagalog) for the first time to Phoenix M. Khan. It was one of the finest blessings to receive from God and she couldn't have been any prouder as if in her own eyes, her job was well done. As a Lola, she made sure to love and help take care of her grandson while guiding Mercy as a new mother.
Over the next following years, life became more challenging as it had finally taken a toll on her body. Virgie then experienced the loss of her husband to natural causes. Soon after, she learned of her final fate on Earth. Many people would say that she was always so smart and very efficient in how she took care of her family and friends. She fought a very long battle which everyone would say how they admired her for her strength and her resilience. Virginia highly believed that “God will always give me more than I can handle...because He WILL deliver...” to “find strength in the Lord”...I can do all things through Christ...” (recent message spoken in Service by Pastor Samson Abad)
Virginia Fabro Rivera, was the matriarch of not only her own family but to the entire Fabro Clan. There was never any doubt that she would be always present for anyone at any time. There is an abundance of appreciation from everyone for the many blessings she so happen to bestow upon them. And therefore, she leaves behind a legacy for her children, Clifford and Mercedes, son in-law, Anthony and her only apo (grandson), to honor as they continue to live life as their mother so lovingly taught to them. As Virginia always said and as her very last wish for everyone she knew and loved, remember her words, “Peace be with you... Have Faith in our Lord...Love one another”
On behalf the Rivera/Khan/Fabro family, we thank you all your constant love and support and for honoring the life of Virginia F. Rivera. God bless you all.
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