Nelly U. Rivera

August 20, 1934 ~ April 18, 2019 (age 84)



Nelly was born on August 20, 1934, and died peacefully in her home on April 18, 2019, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and siblings. Nelly was a devoted wife, a wonderful Mother, giving Sister, and a cherished Grandmother. Nelly was born in a small town, Tayug, in a small province, Pangasinan, in the Philippines to Maria Dacanay and Anselmo Untalan, Sr. Nelly is survived by her dear sister, Emma, and brother, Anselmo Jr. (Sonny). Nelly married her husband, Gaudencio del Rosario Rivera, in a civil ceremony in Virginia in 1956. Nelly and Gody had four children—Norman D., Phillip C., Lisa M., and Nancy A—each of whom were born in four different states in which Gody was stationed. While Gody was stationed at Clark Air Force Base (Philippines) during 1968–71, Nelly and Gody renewed their vows in a Catholic Church in Tayug with their Family and Children present.

In the spring of 1956, Nelly graduated from the University of Santo Tomas College of Nursing with a Bachelor’s. Nelly and other new graduates were assigned to work at Georgetown University. During 1973–94, Nelly worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and was well recognized on numerous occasions for her leadership at NIH’s Clinical Center and for her many contributions to fertility and endocrinology studies.

In addition to her career achievements, Nelly was affectionately known as Grandma Lola by her seven Grandsons—Deven, Alexander, Tyler, Max, Patrick, Nicholas, and Mitchell—and only Granddaughter, Jesse. Grandma Lola also welcomed her Grandchildren’s significant others—Isabella, Yarisel, Emily, and Robert.

Nelly was an avid fan of many sports, especially basketball, professional tennis, figure skating, and the Olympics. She was a lifelong Redskins fan and loved alternately rooting for and yelling at the team.

Nelly will be profoundly missed and eternally loved.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nelly U. Rivera, please visit our floral store.


April 27, 2019

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
The Chapel at Riderwood Village
3110 Gracefield Road
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Funeral Mass
April 27, 2019

11:00 AM
The Chapel at Riderwood Village
3110 Gracefield Road
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Interment at a later date

Arlington National Cemetery
Administration Building
Arlington, VA 22211


Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of American National Capital Area
5845 Richmond Highway, Ste 800, Alexandria, VA 22303,
Tel: 703-399-2900

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