Nick McAdam, Editor in Chief
This article was updated on Feb. 5 at 8:46 p.m. to include extra comments about Raymond Rivera. Updated comments can be found in paragraphs 14 and 15.
Utica College lost two of its own; Norberto “Norm” Rosado, a member of facilities management at the college for 16 years, died due to COVID-19 complications on Dec. 31, 2020, at age 68, and Raymond Rivera, also a member of facilities management and the overnight custodian at DePerno Hall, who also died to COVID-19 complications on Jan. 2 at age 64.
“While the COVID-19 cases were not linked, the passing of two valued members of the UC family is a jarring and heartbreaking loss for our community,” Vice President for Advancement George Nehme said in an email to the college community. “As Pioneers, we are called to come together and show our support.”
Rosado was born in Salinas, Puerto Rico on Oct. 9, 1952. His family moved to the United States while he was still an infant. Years later, Rosado married his wife at the age of 23, with who he shared 45 years.
Rosado was described as a family man; one who put a tremendous amount of time, effort and care into those he loved. He enjoyed making others laugh and found a passion for athletics. He loved taking others out fishing. Those around him recall him running everywhere he needed to go and according to loved ones, he never drove.
Richard Kennedy, a member of facilities management, recalled memories of the two joking around during the shift. According to Kennedy, Rosado helped brighten the moods of those around him.
“It’s cruel in some sense, but we used to love scaring him,” Kennedy said. “I remember when he’d clean the library. He’d go in between each bookshelf and vacuum. We always used to stick our hands in between the books and he’d always let out this scream. He’d spend a few hours trying to find who did it, but by then he’d forget and we’d scare him again.”
Rivera was born a few years after Rosado on Aug. 30, 1956, in Boston. He earned his associate’s degree from Burlington College and spent 20 years working at St. Elizabeth Medical Center before his time with the college.
Rivera was also known for his love for his children and grandchildren. He was a sports enthusiast and an avid coin collector who enjoyed the local food scene; often eating and trying new things.
“I always remember him taking care of his wife who is currently in a battle with cancer,” Kennedy said. “He used to drive back and forth from work to home to check in on her and bring her to appointments. He always worked these crazy hours just to provide for his family. He loved them all very much.”
Rivera’s niece, Trisha Melise, echoed these qualities of him including selflessness and care.
“My uncle was always there for his family,” she said. “When I was a teenager I stayed with them for a while and he always made me feel like I was at home. He was always welcoming. Watching the type of relationship he and my aunt had made me hope that one day I can find someone as selfless and as caring.”
Melise also spoke of Rivera’s relationship with his wife. These moments, according to her, symbolize the love he left behind.
“Not long before his passing, I remember him telling me that he wouldn’t know what he would do if he lost my aunt and that he would do anything for her,” she said. “At that time it made me smile because I thought it was the sweetest thing.”
Rivera’s wife, Nora Rizzo, remembered him waking up at 3 a.m. to work until noon in order to take her to chemotherapy appointments. Rizzo noted that she was spoiled with Rivera, as she also spoke on his acceptance and care during their 35 years of marriage.
“When we met, he had two children and I had two children,” she said. “He just accepted my children like they were his own. He was accepting and loving. We were married for 35 years and now he’s gone. It’s devastating.”
In the workplace, both Rivera and Rosado were known to bring their personalities from home. Co-workers such as Vice President for Infrastructure Matthew Carr and Site Supervisor at Atalian Global Services Jim DuRoss both noted Rivera and Rosado of their dependability.
“We could always count on them to put in the additional effort when required if we were short-handed or just needed help with extra work,” DuRoss said.
The college and the local community came together for the families of Rivera and Rosado. A Give Campus fund started on Jan. 15 and raised more than $14,000 from 190 donors.
“On behalf of the Rivera and Rosado families, and the entire Utica College community, thank you so much,” Vice President of Infrastructure Matthew Carr said in a video attached to the Give Campus fund.
The outreach and support from the community also pleased Kennedy, who was thankful to see such support given to the families in such a short amount of time.
“Both of them were such caring people,” he said. “They made such an impact on the college community and to see the community itself reciprocate that love back to them is such a joy to see. I’m glad to be a part of this community.”