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Service Sept. 25 for volunteer chief

Staff Reports

A celebration of life is 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Topaz Lodge for retired Topaz Ranch Estates Fire Chief Franklin John Riva, 70, who died Aug. 3, 2010, at his home.

Born Jan. 30, 1940, in Santa Barbara, Calif., to Armnado and Angelina Riva, he graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1957.

He served as a firefighter in Santa Barbara County from 1957 to 1958. He married and moved to Downey, Calif., in 1963.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1962. He served until his discharge as a sergeant in 1968. He was an iron worker for United Fabricators in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., from 1964 until 1975, and for Union 76 in Downey, Calif., from 1975 to 1977, when he moved to Nevada to work for Topaz Construction until 1986.

He joined the Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Department in 1980 and was elected chief in 1981. He worked for the Topaz Lodge from 1986 to 2005.

“He was a loving father and grandfather,” daughter Trisha Bowen said.

Riva was an award-winning cooperative observer for the National Weather Service.

According to Weather Service Observer Coordinator Scott McGuire, Riva was one of 25 observers to receive the John Campanius Holm Award this year.

“Frank had been notified he was selected to receive the award,” McGuire said. “He passed away before it could be presented to him formally.”

McGuire said Riva was instrumental in taking accurate weather observations during the record flood in January 1997.

According to the citation, he was “instrumental in aiding the National Weather Service in providing timely and accurate river forecast” during the flooding.

Riva served as The Record-Courier’s longest serving weather watcher with his last report received July 27.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brother Tony Riva and step-mother Carol Riva.

He is survived by daughter Trisha (Brett) Bowen, granddaughter Natalie Bowen and grandson Blake Bowen.