On September 19, 2017, at just 36 years old, Steven Rivera of Stockton, CA was killed in an accident while riding his motorcycle. Steven was the oldest son of Fred Rivera, one of our past cover truckers (November 2002), and a 10-4 family friend. Steven, AKA Sweet Steve, was a loving son, amazing father, brother, cousin, uncle, grandson, nephew and a great friend to many – and he loved to truck (he was a fourth-generation truck driver).
Steven entered this life on March 17, 1981 to his parents Fred Rivera and Lorinda Kay Bennett. He was the first-born child to each parent, and also the first-born grandchild to his grandparents on both his mother and father’s side. Steven was so full of life and love from the minute he was born, and he brought plenty of excitement to keep everyone always on their toes. From the moment Steven could walk, he was fast and on the go.
Once Steven realized he could grip anything and throw it, no one was safe. He quickly developed a love for baseball and started playing Little League, and continued playing throughout high school. Not only was he a talented baseball player when attending Linden High School, but he was also a very talented football player, where he intercepted enough throws to tie the school record. While playing both football and baseball, he caught the eye of the track coaches who asked if he’d like to run relay for them. With Steven on the team, they shattered the school relay record, earning his name to the gym wall as All League.
After graduation, Steven attended Delta Junior College for a few semesters, but he always knew where he wanted to be in life – on the road. He left Delta and immediately attained his CDL, and the rest is history. Steven started working for the family business, Rivera Trucking, which was started by his great grandfather in 1938. After learning as much as he felt he needed, he went out on his own. He was an owner operator, but continued to pull for the family for almost four years.
When Steven wasn’t trucking, you could find him working the grill at his dad’s house and hanging out with the family. He was a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan, loved NASCAR, was an experienced shooter, and was a very well-accomplished bowler with a 300 game. Aside from all this, he also loved to ride his motorcycle. But, of course, none of these came close to how much he loved being a father to his little girl Isabelle Marie Rivera, whom he was blessed with by Michelle on May 15, 2011. She was his little trucker, and they were inseparable.
Always living life to the fullest, Steven was always able to put a smile on the faces of the people around him. He was also able to bring a smile to a special girl’s face. Starting as trucking partners, he and Ashley became inseparable the last 11 months of Steven’s life. After spending many hours together, on and off the road, Steven felt Ashley was the one and asked her to be his forever. Steven showed us that life can be fun, no matter the circumstances, as long as you have your family and a good group of friends around.
When asked what she liked most about her dad, six-year-old Isabelle said, “I liked cuddling with my dad. He was a good cuddler. I liked when he would let me sit on his lap and drive the truck into the driveway, and I loved when I went trucking with him. He would always stop at the store and buy me candy.” When asked what she’ll miss the most, she answered, “I will miss spending time with him, and I will miss him being funny and making me laugh.”
Fred loved being Steven’s father, saying he was a respectful and well-mannered kid that made him proud. “He loved to drive his Peterbilt, and that’s all he ever wanted to do.” He loved his family and friends, and if you were his friend, you were family. Fred also said, “In his short life, he made great impacts on everyone he met, but he was also a goofy guy and a great practical joker.” Steven was laid to rest on September 29, 2017 at San Joaquin Catholic Cemetery in Stockton, CA. May you rest in peace, Sweet Steve. You will be missed but not forgotten.