Leola Rivers

Leola Rivers

09-12-1927 - 02-06-2023

Biography: Funeral Service
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Viewing: 9:00AM—Service: 10:00AM
Mt. Olivet Baptist Church
201 Lenox Avenue, New York, New York 10027
Reverend Dr. Charles A. Curtis—Officiating
Leola Burke Rivers, also known as “Sister” and “Doll”, transitioned into eternal rest on February 6, 2023. The oldest of Willie P and Bettie Westbrook Burke’s nine children (Elizabeth, Minnie, Essie and Thomas predeceased Leola), she was born on September 12, 1927 in Orrville Alabama. Leola married Frank Louis Rivers (deceased) on December 22, 1946. They were the proud parents of three children: the late Carl Rivers, Gwendolyn Rivers Romano Glover, and Francine Rivers Brailsford. 

Learning was a lifelong passion for Leola including her graduation from Selma University, Teachers College in Montgomery Alabama, and her advanced nursing degree from Lehman College when she was in her fifties.

Leola confessed to Christ at an early age and was baptized at Siloam Baptist Church in Alabama. She moved to New York in 1948 and became an active member of Mount Olivet Baptist Church in New York City in April 1950. She was a member of the N. B. C., the O’Clay Maxwell Scholarship Club, and the Tuesday evening Bible study. She was also a member of the Mount Olivet Baptist senior group.

Leola devoted her life to helping others, from her early years as a teacher in Alabama, throughout her nursing career in New York at both Goldwater and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, and by her love and caring of her family and friends. All who knew her loved her, and she was revered as the matriarch of the family. Leola had a favorite saying: “If I can help somebody along the way, then my living is not in vain.” Leola believed in practicing this saying throughout her lifetime, especially with her family, Christian family and friends. Her favorite scripture verses were Psalm 91:2 and John 1-14.

Leola is survived by her daughters Gwendolyn Romano Glover (William) and Francine Brailsford; grandsons Anthony Romano (Rita) and Mathew Brailsford; granddaughter Maya Brailsford; great grandsons Anthony Romano and Alvin Romano; two brothers Willie P Burke (Bertha) and Jerome Burke; two sisters Bettie Lewis and Gloria Shears (Charles); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends


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