Julio Rivera Santana Sr. was born on Oct. 1, 1920 to the late Julio Rivera and Juana Santana. He departed this life on Jan. 10, 2013.
As a young boy he lived at home in Puerto Rico. He stayed and helped his mother until she died when he was 17. He left Puerto Rico and came to the United States. During World War II Julio served in the Coast Guard as a merchant seaman and was honorably discharged at the completion of his service. He resided in Texas for a while but missed the ocean. Soon after he joined a crew and his travels took him all over the world. He decided to stop traveling when he was in Africa and began to work for Firestone. After several years in Africa Julio went back to working on ships. After many years at sea Julio decided to settle down and stay on dry land. Julio had a fascination with electricity and once he arrived back in the States he trained to become a master electrician.
With these skills he was able to work for many large corporations. In the late 60’s Julio took a job as an electrician with Johns Hopkins. During his early years at Hopkins Julio became a shop steward where he helped to solve many of the grievances of its members. Julio was a fair person with a no nonsense personality.
Because of his no nonsense approach, Julio was elected president of Johns Hospital Local Union 1231. Julio was always very interested in helping others and unions. It was through this association that Julio was instrumental in helping form the Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union over 30 years ago.
While at Hopkins, Julio became interested in computers. Along with his wife Helen Holmes Santana, he took courses in computer systems. He received his certificate of proficiency in Microcomputer Systems Support from Johns Hopkins University in 1991. Julio enjoyed vacations by going on cruises with his wife, especially to the Caribbean. Since 1990, Julio and Helen tried to go on at least one cruise every year.
Julio retired from Johns Hopkins University in December 2003 at the age of 83. After his retirement he joined the Liberty Senior Center where he and his wife became active members of the fitness program. He participated in many of the programs at the senior center and was well liked by everyone in the center.
Julio enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren and was always quick to offer sage advice like, “Don’t take any wooden nickels; just take the quarters.” He took great interest and pride in the accomplishments of his children and his grandchildren. His oldest grandchild, DeVante held a special place in his heart as he was truly raised as his third son. One of his greatest hopes was to live to see him graduate from college.
After the passing of his wife Helen in 2011, Julio was able to live independently at home, until the age of 92. In late 2012, Julio decided it was time to meet some new friends and let someone else handle the cooking. He became a resident of the Emerald Estates Assisted Living Community in January 2013. He lived there until he was called by God to be reunited with Helen, his wife of 37 years.
Julio is survived by; his two sons, Keith and Julio Jr.; four grandchildren, DeVante, Davis, Grant and Elissa; one daughter-in-law, Kim; three brothers-in-law, Bernard, Harold and William; two sisters-in-law, Gladys and Julia; and a host of relatives and friends.