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Rosa Maria Rios

October 31, 1946 –
 January 23, 2023


Rosa Maria Rios passed away peacefully at the age of 76 from complications related to Alzheimer’s.

Her unexpected journey led Rosa to spend her final year in Dallas, Texas, under the care of family and new loving friends at the Juniper at Preston Hollow Memory Center. She shared her favorite desserts and often made everyone laugh with her colorful facial responses. Few know that Rosa received her nursing assistant certificate many years ago – in her final months, she “helped” the caregivers watch over the other patients as best as she could. She clearly loved caring for seniors.

Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, the daughter of Rosa Morales and Esteban Rijos, Rosa was part of a large vibrant family that included eight children. She is predeceased by her parents, and her brothers Rafael, Tito, and Johnny. Her sisters and brothers, Julie, Chique, Santo, and Ileana love and miss her dearly. She often spoke to her children about the wonderful memories the siblings and their families shared.

Fayetteville, North Carolina was Rosa’s home for over 50 years. There she raised her daughter, Bernice (Rios) Newton, and son, Jose Luis Rios. She was a devoted military wife for 35 years maintaining the family unit through the Vietnam war, overseas tours, and many deployments associated with the 782 nd Airborne Division and her Command Sergeant Major husband.

Her best friend Stuart and the loving FoxFire neighbors brought smiles and laughter to Rosa’s life as she did for them. She liked to work in her yard, mostly to take breaks and chat with her friends. She found joy in watching movies, listening to music, and reading about nutrition.

She loved animals, with a specific passion for cats. With gratitude, Thundering Paws of Fayetteville, and the faithfulness of the staff, her cats — Oreo and Andy — found loving homes when Rosa could no longer care for them. While in Texas she enjoyed visiting Bernice’s dog, Willow, who predeceased Rosa by a couple of days. Her youngest granddaughter noted that “Willow had to go to show Grandma the way to heaven.” The thought brings comfort to the family.

She is survived by her immediate family, Bernice (Bernard) Newton, Jose Rios, Toni Rios, and granddaughters, Alli Rios, Natalie Newton, and Brett Newton. She is predeceased by her infant son, Luis Jose Rios, Jr.

A Memorial Service for Rosa will be held Friday, June 9 at 1 PM at LaFayette Memorial Park,
Fayetteville, NC 28301, 910-488-5422.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Visiting Nurse Association
( or your local animal shelter.


4 Thoughts on Rosa Maria Rios
    26 Jan 2023

    I recall Ms Rosa watching over me and my siblings as young children growing up just a few house up the street from the Rios family home in Fayetteville North Carolina. After I completed high school I left to serve in the US Army, for over 25 years and eight of those years here at Fort Bragg, NC after retiring from service I returned home locally. I frequently visited my mother’s home to do her lawn, and one day while doing so Ms Rosa surprised me by coming down the street and asked if I remembered who she was. I ignkowleded her and told her, “of course I knew who she was.” She then asked if I could help do her bush hedges around her home. I did her hedges and later started maintaining her lawn under her strict guidance, she was very specific with how she wanted things done in her garden. previously I would always see her doing all this upkeep herself, and she would always wave as I drove by. She said she had to stop because her doctors said the lawn dust and pollens were too strong for her allergies. Through these last few years I unfortunately watched a-lot of her beauty be taken away from old age and Dementia which eventually rendered her to Texas to be cared for by her wonderful loving daughter Bernice. Ms Rosa was truly another neighborhood mom to us all and I send my deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.

    Ileana Rijos
    26 Jan 2023

    Sis you will always be remember and I will always love you! 💕 GOD BLESS YOU! RIP🙏🙏🙏

    Mary Lamb
    27 Jan 2023


    So sorry for your losses this week. Loosing both your mom and Willow within a few days of one another. Your head must be spinning and your heart must be broken. I’m always here for you. I will see if I can make it to your mother’s memorial service in June. Sending you lots of love and hugs. See you soon. Much love, Mary Lamb

    Linda Daquil, Thundering Paws Pet Adoption Center, President
    31 Jan 2023

    Rosa and Thundering Paws Pet Adoption have wonderful memories caring for her beloved cats 10-yr old orange tabby Andy and 6 yr old grey and white Oreo. We met every other day to care for her 2 boys and we had many delightful conversations. Rosa’s charming, warm personality and love for her cats are deep in our hearts. Bernice and family provided gracious support and encouragement to help us successfully find Andy and Oreo’s new forever home together. We miss Rosa dearly and hope she watches over her 2 boys. We send our prayers and deepest heartfelt condolences to your family.

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The Gillilands
The Gillilands[click to read more]
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Dear John,

It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Tha you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you.

Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad.

Love, The Gillilands


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