Kelley Rivera, a loving wife and mother who unapologetically lived life on her own terms, passed away on July 23, 2023. Kelley was born on July 29, 1964 to Clancy and Rick Martel. She was raised in Winnetka and graduated from Chatsworth High School, Class of 1982.
Kelley worked for decades as a Certified Public Accountant, most recently with her own firm, Kelley Rivera, CPA. The love and devotion she showed to her clients was mutual, many of them staying with her for nearly 30 years.
It was while she was studying accounting at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where she graduated in 1986, that she met her future husband Peter. They actually met while volunteering for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (CSUN-VITA), which provides income tax preparation assistance to low- to medium-income families. As you might expect, that organization is near and dear to the Riveras, and the Kelley Rivera Tax Diva Scholarship Fund to assist CSUN-VITA participants has been created in her memory.
Kelley and Peter married in August 1988 and lived for many years in Tarzana, where they doted on their fabulous daughter Morgan. One of their happiest days was Morgan’s recent marriage to Dylan Horwitz, which the family celebrated in grand style this past May at Galway Downs in Temecula.
In addition to Peter and Morgan, Kelley is survived by her mother, Clancy Martel. She was proceeded in death by her beloved father, Rick Martel. Kelley also leaves behind her sister, Nicole Martel-Sheppard (Matthew) and their children Alexis and Ryan; her brother, K.C. Martel (Rayleen) and their children Jackson and Donovan. On Peter’s side of the family, there are six siblings, six sibling spouses and 29 nieces and nephews. Kelley loved them all and her interrogations of a new boyfriend or girlfriend that accompanied a family member to a celebration were legendary.
Kelley’s Celebration of Life will be held at 9 a.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.), August 5, 2023, at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (reception to follow at noon).
Those who knew Kelley were touched by her indefatigable spirit—she would never quit anything. In 1969, Kelley was just five years old when she first was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Over the past 54 years, the amazing breakthroughs in treating this horrible disease are due in great part to the work of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Without a doubt, their work gave us many more years of Kelley. Kelley started fundraising for JDRF early on, riding 29 miles in the Ronald McDonald Diabetes Bike-A-Thon. Her aunt that pledged $5 a mile, thinking that Kelley would only squeeze out two miles, learned a lesson many of us have learned as well. Though she be but little, she is mighty.
In her adult years, Kelley and her husband Peter raised over $250,000 for diabetes research under the name of Team Bubba. Kelley would have been thrilled by any donation in her memory to this organization that meant so much to her. Please note that the Rivera Family Foundation is committed to matching any JDRF donation made on behalf of Kelley. To donate, please click on this link CLICK HERE.
The service will be live streamed with the feed starting at 8:50am PST at: https://forestlawn.livecontrol.tv/e68e0d09 (Password Rivera)
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