Retired Librarian Judith Rivas, 58, Former Norwalk Common Council Member

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Judith Rivas served on the Norwalk Common Council and the Board of Education.
Judith Rivas served on the Norwalk Common Council and the Board of Education. Photo Credit: Norwalk Public Library

NORWALK, Conn. -- Judith Rivas, a former director of library information services for the Norwalk Public Library and longtime public servant in Norwalk, died Thursday, May 22. She was 58. 

Rivas was born Dec. 8, 1955, in the Bronx, N.Y., to Ismael and Ramona Rivas. She worked at the Norwalk library for over 28 years.

She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, Fordham University and Southern Connecticut State University with a master's degree in library science.

Rivas was a co-founder and member of the former United Hispanic Action of Norwalk as well as a member of several other community organizations. She especially enjoyed her work with the Wilkerson Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to needy but promising students in the Norwalk high schools.

In 1997, Rivas joined the Norwalk Common Council to complete the unfinished term of Joseph Clemmons, who had been elected to the state legislature. She was then elected to three consecutive terms in her own right. 

One of her proudest actions while serving on the council was advocating for the city to purchase Fodor Farm, which was slated to become an oversize condominium development. Norwalk bought the parcel, and after several years, the farm was restored and is now a gem. 

Rivas was then elected to the Board of Education, where she served for two-and-a-half years before leaving to care for an ailing parent.

She is survived by her husband, Neil Hershkowitz; sister Migdalia Rivas, along with her niece and nephew Jessica and Daniel Joseph of Norwalk; sister and brother, Haydee and Ismael Rivas; stepmother Carmen Rivas; stepsister Zaida Hernandez; and a niece, Nancy Rodriguez, all from the Bronx.  

Services will be held Sunday, May 25, at 11 a.m. at Temple Shalom, 259 Richards Ave., Norwalk. Internment will follow at the Independent Hebrew/Temple Shalom Cemetery on Richards Avenue.

Shiva will be observed at the Hershkowitz/Rivas home, on Sunday, May 25, from 4 to 8 p.m; and Monday and Tuesday, from noon to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Temple Shalom, the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital, the Lustgarden Foundation for Pancreatic Research, or the Wilkerson Scholarship Fund c/o Jules Lang Esquire, Lepofsky, Lepofsky and Lang, 16 River St., Norwalk, CT.

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A very kind, intelligent, wonderful person. I remember her from when I was a little kid at the library. She was always patient and helpful. RIP.