Michael Angelo Ribera “Mike” died at the Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, Florida on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 less than one week prior to his 66th birthday. Mike is survived by his wife of 20 years, Patty Ruscoe.
Mike was born on January 24, 1951 at Newport Hospital to the late Michael S. Ribera and Annie (O’Neill) Ribera. The oldest of 9 children, Mike grew up on Bacheller Street in Newport and was educated in the Newport public schools. As a young boy, Mike spent many hours at King Park with his siblings; swimming out to “First Rock” – Then “Second Rock” and finally, reaching the raft! He worked at the Newport Daily News as a paper inserter, and delivery boy for much of his youth, which gave him a love of newspapers (he read the papers voraciously).
Upon graduation from Rogers High School, Mike received a Congressional appointment to both the Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Denver. Because of his life-long love of the sea, he chose King’s Point. He later transferred to Calhoon Marine Engineering School in Baltimore, MD, where he graduated in 1973. Starting as a cadet, he worked his way up through the ranks, achieving the highest rank in his field as a US Coast Guard licensed Chief Engineer. Mike earned multiple licenses including Steam, Motor, and Gas Turbine engines of any horsepower. He was a proud member of the Engineers Union, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA). He retired in 2001 from MEBA with 128 countries under his belt. He would often tell stories of how he turned 21 in Vietnam, and turned 40 in Iraq while bringing supplies to our country’s military. He also said there was “no ship too big for him to handle”.
After his retirement, Mike and his wife became owners and hosts of the Higgins House Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Sanford, FL.
Besides his wife Patty, Mike also leaves his three sons: Michael S. Ribera of Cranston, Zachariah Ribera of St. Clare Shores, MI, and Sebastian S. Ribera of Mandeville, LA. He also leaves his siblings, Sal Ribera (Cathie) of N. Kingstown, Christopher (LeeAnn) Ribera of Pawtucket, Carolyn Were of Groton, CT, Ellen McCallum of Cortland, NY. Roger Ribera of Newport, and Raphael Ribera of Providence and many nieces, nephews and extended family.
He is predeceased by his brothers James Ribera and Steve Ribera.
Mike’s ashes will be returned to Newport. Arrangements are being handled through his childhood friend, Charlie Hayes.
Memorial Services will be held at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport on Thursday, February 2, 2017 with calling hours 4-7pm.
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