In life, 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero was universally known as a stellar person.
In death, his friends and family attested to that by showing up by the hundreds to honor Rivero, who died early Sunday morning when a SeaVee carrying him, Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and another friend violently crashed into a jetty off South Beach.
More than 350 people packed into a small funeral home on a busy Hialeah street Tuesday evening, cars spilling out into nearby shopping centers.
Inside, elaborate wreaths and Rivero’s distraught family memorialized the young man.
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Friends repeatedly spoke of his charisma.
He was the kind of person, said longtime friend Jon Montesino, “that you can’t say anything bad about.”
He always told his friends “I love you,” said Lynette Martinez, who went to high school with Rivero at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High in Kendall.
The tragedy is especially difficult, said coworker Jeremy Feacher, because Rivero was the glue that united their group of nearly 30 sales trainees.
And he was funny, said Emily Perez, who worked with Rivero at Carnival Cruise Line as a personal vacation planner.
Rivero joined the cruise line in May and quickly became a popular co-worker with a “tremendous team spirit,” said Jennifer De La Cruz, a spokeswoman at Carnival Cruise Line.
“Eddie will forever be part of the Carnival family, especially here in PVP [personal vacation planner] land. Although his time here with us was short, he will be forever remembered for his contributions, selflessness, motivational spirit and that awesome work ethic he always displayed,“ said Rivero’s supervisor and vice president of global contact center sales, Dave Chang, in a memo to employees. “He will be missed.”
The tragedy is especially difficult, said co-worker Jeremy Feacher, because Rivero was the glue that united their group of nearly 30 sales trainees.
Perez corroborated that statement: “He was the reason everyone in the class were friends.”
Hours into the wake, donations were still coming in to a GoFundMe page for Rivero’s funeral expenses. Just over 1,000 people had donated a combined $36,585 as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The goal was $30,000.
Rivero’s girlfriend, Jen Peralta, paid tribute to him through various social-media posts. The most recent described the day of the wake as the hardest of her life.
“I will never love the way I loved you,” Peralta wrote. “I need you.”
Across town in Hialeah, mourners also gathered to honor Emilio Macias, who died just two days after his 27th birthday. The viewing at the Caballero Woodlawn funeral home was private — Macias’ father is a detective with Miami-Dade police, and many police officers attended.
Mourners described the younger Macias as a jovial, athletic young man who graduated from Braddock High and went on to work at Wells Fargo as a financial adviser.
He had worked in finance for at least four years, helping wealthy clients manage their investments, said one co-worker who asked not to be named. Around the office, he loved to talk sports, especially the Miami Dolphins.
“He was a gem,” said the co-worker. “He was very outgoing. We’re in a skill business, and it’s all about relationships. He came across as someone who you could be very comfortable with. He was a very nice person.”
Mourners described the Macias as a jovial, athletic young man who graduated from Braddock High and went on to work at Wells Fargo as a financial advisor.
His high-profile death shocked the office. “Just devastated,” the co-worker said.
His loved ones also set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
One former high school friend, Jeremy Martinez, 26, recalled Macias introducing himself on one of the first days of high school. They quickly became class buddies, hanging out at lunch and in the halls.
By chance, Martinez ran into Macias while visiting a sick relative in the hospital a few months ago. They hadn’t seen each other in years. “It was just like old times,” Martinez said. “He was always outgoing and very friendly.”