6 pm Service
Love, Faith, Values and a Beautiful Legacy Lives On
Alfonso passed away peacefully at home with his family on August 15, 2019. He was born in Tunja, Colombia; one of eight brothers and sisters to Felipe and Soledad Rios. From an early age he was passionate about family, music and math. Alfonso was a wonderful example of what it means to have a joyful and giving heart.
In his early twenties, he met and married Lucy, the love of his life. Alfonso decided to study electrical engineering and was blessed to be part of an exchange student program between the Universidad de los Andes and the University of Illinois. Lucy and Alfonso lived at the campus in Urbana-Champaign until he received his electrical engineering degree. They both treasured their experience in the United States specially the kindness of the people they met, many who became lifelong friends.
Alfonso and Lucy moved back to Colombia where Alfonso began his career as an electrical engineer and years later they lovingly welcomed their only daughter Ana Patricia. As they began to build their life in Colombia, Alfonso’s and Lucy’s marriage was strengthened by their unconditional love, mutual intellectual respect (even though they favored different political parties), work ethic and commitment to be the best parents they could be. Alfonso was very proud of Lucy’s entrepreneurial spirit and saving discipline to invest in land to build homes to save for their daughter’s education. Their Christian faith was at the center of the values they taught their daughter and Sundays were joyful family days centered in faith, church and music.
From an early age Alfonso was blessed with the gift of music playing various instruments by ear and self- teaching himself. In his twenties he mastered the accordion and harmonica and later became an extraordinary Vallenato musician, playing the accordion, harmonica, maracas, guacharaca, drums and also singing. His daughter lovingly called him “my music box”. During the weekends his home was filled with life vallenato music. People from the coast of Colombia were surprised by Alfonso’s vallenato talent; never to be expected from a person from the interior of the county and an engineer.
After working for the power company Alfonso started his own engineering company. The highlight of his entrepreneurial journey was bringing electricity and light to villages all over Colombia. The gratitude and joy of the people who had never had electrical power in their home or town deeply touched Alfonso’s heart. Later in his career he was offered a management position back at the Power Company where he became the Operations General Manager. During his career he always made sure to mentor the next generation of engineers and the laborers who were part of the crews that helped him build many substations. His values and leadership throughout his career, specially his care for the people he worked with, are part of his beautiful legacy.
Alfonso was an amazing and loving father, husband, father-in-law, son, brother, mentor, engineer, friend, uncle and boss. He kept his joyous spirit, deep appreciation for the time with loved ones, passion for music and sparkle in his eyes, until his last day. On August 15th, his last day on this earth, he played his harmonica beautifully, made us laugh and gave us his abundant love filling our hearts with joy.
Alfonso was preceded in death by his beloved wife Lucy in 2013. He is survived by his daughter Patricia and son-in-law Daniel, along with his bothers Manuel and Carlos, numerous nieces and nephews including Gustavo, Martha, Helena, Clara, Pilar, Isabela, Juanita and Luis Felipe and very dear family friends including Betulia, Claudio, the Chinchilla and Castellanos families.
Alfonso was blessed to have a wonderful team of loving and talented caregivers, Nidia, Carmen, Sandra, Hulda and Rosario. Thank you for your love and the way you are God’s hands in this world taking care of the elderly and sick.
Patricia and Daniel are deeply grateful by the spiritual care they and Alfonso received during this journey from Frank Vanderzwan, the family pastor. In addition we are thankful for the medical care Alfonso received from the Stanford and hospice teams specially the loving care provided by Courtney and Marina.
We love Colombia! Please consider donating at https://www.gofundme.com/f/isla-baru-colombia as we support our friends on the Island of Baru.