Nathaniel J. "Nat" Rivers





     Nathaniel J. "Nat" Rivers will be remembered by family members as a kind and loving husband and family member.  And, in addition, for many others he will remembered for his love of community and many political endeavors.

     However, for those of us who did not know him well enough, his "Obituary" given below provides us a a surprising look at this man and his many achievements of, - achievements that as a family we should all be very proud of.


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     On July 4, 1910, a day that America celebrates with songs and tributes of struggle, freedom and liberty, a baby was born to Henry and Sally Marshall Rivers in Cache, Illinois.  His name was Nathaniel James Rivers, the seventh of eight brothers and sisters.  His was a close knit and pioneering Illinois family.  Two sisters survive him. 

     He attended Sumner High School in Cairo, Illinois, and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and St. Louis University. 

     On June 1, 1940, he entered into Holy Matrimony with Miss Audrey T. McCoy.  With family and friends, he and his beloved Audrey celebrated 50 years of love, joy, and happiness in 1990.  Mr. Rivers’ one daughter, Louise Rivers Nicholson, was from a previous marriage.




     A GODLY LIFE ENDED June 12, 1994 when Nathaniel “Nat” Rivers was taken from us.

     Nathaniel professed his faith and belief in the principles of Jesus Christ in 1940 when he was baptized by Rev. Victor Hugo Wells at the Antioch Baptist Church during a Community Revival in Lovejoy, Illinois.  Following that baptism he joined the First Corinthian Baptist, Lovejoy, Illinois, to be with his wife, Audrey.  Later in 1957 he joined the West Side Missionary Baptist Church under the pastorate of Rev. Victor Hugo Wells.

     At West Side, Nathaniel served faithfully and with distinction as Chairman of the Trustee board for many years.  He supported its varied programs, projects and ministries.  To these he generously gave his full support.  He will be remembered best for the many things that vividly characterized his Christian Walk at a church he love.  His quiet and unassuming disposition, his love and loyalty to family and friends, dedication and devotion to God and his church, his willingness to do his bit for Christ as a faithful church member and trustee.  He served his Lord well and will be greatly missed.




     Mr. Rivers led an active life in politics which spanned over 40 years.  He began as a School Trustee and Parole Officer in Illinois.  Later, he brought considerable leadership to the 26th Ward in St. Louis as a hard-working campaign ward leader covering his career of Congressman from Committeeman, family friend and childhood confidante, Alderman, and the U.S. Congress. 

     He served as Captain of the 26th Ward Precinct Captains and Alderman from 1964 to 1967.  He was a vigorous and well loved legislator in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1968 to 1983.  He chaired the Legislative Black Caucus during the 79th General Assembly and was a member of the Local Government and Related Matters Committee and Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee.

     “Nat” will long be remembered for distinguished involvements in the community helping people.  A few of the organizations to which he gave talent and time were the Union Sarah Economic Development Corporation (a former Chairman), the Board of Managers of the Page Park YMCA, the West End Community Conference, Masonic Lodge, Elks, and was former Board Member of the old Annie Malone Children’s Home.

     In recent years, after leaving the State of Missouri House of Representatives, Mr. Rivers became the Senior Citizens Liaison staff person in the office of Congressman Clay.  In that capacity, he personally delivered the Black weekly papers to shut-in seniors in the neighborhoods and at senior facilities and he attended senior citizen activities in the 1st Congressional district.  For over 11 years, “Nat” Rivers demonstrated a genuine love for senior citizens and cared deeply about such legislative issues of health, finance, housing and income affecting them as the Silver Haired Legislator from the Congressman’s Office.  He has been the recipient of the St. Louis Citizens Award in Community Service and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award in 1979 and the Harris-Stowe College Award for Higher Education and Human Development in 1978.

     Mr. Rivers was a businessman, civil and political rights activist, a distinguished legislator, a loyal churchman, and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

     He, along with his beloved wife, Audrey, was a world traveler.  Their travels included China, Africa, the State of Alaska, and extensive travels throughout the Continental United States.

     Nathaniel J. “Nat” Rivers departed this life on Sunday night, June 12, 1994, after a brief illness.

     He leaves a bouquet of family and friends who cherished and loved him.  His beloved wife, Audrey McCoy Rivers; daughter, Louise Rivers Nicholson, son-in-law, John F. Nicholson; loving grandchildren, John F. Nicholson II, Donna Marie Nicholson Jones, Stephen D. Nicholson, great grandchildren, John Nicholson IV, Jacinda Ann Nicholson, Cameron Duane Nicholson, Tiffancy and Terese Jones (twins), Alisha Diane Nicholson, Christine Renee Nicholson, Kelly Marie Nicholson, and two sisters, Ora Lee Rivers of Mascoutah, Illinois and Theola Fitts of St. Louis, many nieces, nephews, and a host of friends, co-workers, and political colleagues.