On June 25, 2022, Richard Riojas passed away at 66 years old from kidney failure. A Navy veteran, father, husband, and hero, he will continue impacting lives even after passing. Richard came from a Navy family, where his father and all five brothers enlisted. He dedicated 25 years of service and was even in Operation Desert Storm.
Riojas was a tissue donor through South Texas Blood & Tissue; an accredited tissue bank that connects donors nationally for patients in need. Richard’s tissue donation will help up to 75 different lives.
Richard dedicated 39 years to his loving wife Olga and had three children and five grandchildren. He was known for his patience, laughter, and strong work ethic. Richard loved sports, and an avid fan of all the home teams. Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros, UTSA Roadrunners. You name it. If there was a game on, he’d be there cheering the Texan teams. He coached little league, golfed, loved to read and ran a lot of 5Ks with Olga.
Olga remembers Richard so fondly. They were very close. He was a loving husband, and she cried thinking of her favorite memory of him. “Every night before we’d go to bed, he would hug me and tell me how much he loved me and so proud he was of me,” Olga remembers. “We were so proud of how we raised the kids and what we had.”
The Riojas’ were a donor family from the get-go. Richard worked for over 35 years managing a plasma center. Olga has worked in blood banking since 1984 and worked with the National Marrow Donor Program as a recruiter for many years. Richard and kids supported her.
Part of his will was to donate his tissue. The family learned the importance of donating blood and tissue early on.
“He’s always said he wanted to be some type of donor,” Olga said “He would be so proud to know he helped others. He was a true believer of tissue and organ donation. It is a comfort to know his tissue will continue to help others.”
Richard’s legacy of donation is living on through his three children. Daughter, Amanda has three children and donated her cord blood/birth tissue for all her pregnancies. Their son Adrian is a recurring blood donor and has signed up to be a future organ and tissue donor. Youngest daughter Ivana, 33, began donating blood regularly since she was 18, and registered for the Be the Match Marrow Program as soon as she was of age. “Donating is in our blood,” Olga laughs.