Cover photo for Riva Love Marcus's Obituary

Riva Love Marcus

June 7, 1932 — February 23, 2024

Philadelphia, PA

Riva Love Marcus


Riva Love Marcus passed away on February 23rd. 2024, aged 91.  She was born on June 7th 1932, in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Alex and Sonia (“Bubbles”) Cohen, and moved permanently to the U.S. in 1978.

Her middle name could not have been better chosen.  She loved everyone – especially her husband of more than 67 years, Joseph; her children, Neil, Carole z”l, and Anthony; her daughter-in-law Miriam; and her greatly cherished grandchildren, Daniel, Stav and Yuval.  She loved all of her large extended family, spread around the world, and friends and colleagues too numerous to count.  And in turn she was deeply loved, a confidant and friend to many.  She always put others first, whether family, friends, or even strangers in the street, to whom she would instinctively give way.   

Riva couldn’t meet someone without making a friend.  Even on a bus or subway ride, she would talk to the person next to her, and by the end of the ride they would be friends.  When the family decided to move to the U.S., she walked into the U.S. consulate in Johannesburg, expecting many months of paperwork and bureaucracy.  She spoke with an official there, and walked out with five green cards.

She lived life fully and adventurously.  After she finished university, she decided to move to London – an unusual move for a single young woman at the time, and she had many adventures in the UK and Europe before returning to South Africa.  The journey spawned a lifelong love of travel, which she instilled throughout the family.  When she was close to 70, her son told her he was planning a trip to Greenland; she immediately announced that she would go along, spending a week bouncing in zodiacs, walking on glaciers, and – as always – making friends.

Riva studied physical therapy at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and spent most of her career designing and running group programs for developmentally-delayed children, in South Africa and the U.S.  Her innovative approaches improved the lives of many thousands of children, and were featured in a documentary and in a speech she delivered at the United Nations in 1981.

Her funeral will be at 1:00 on Wednesday, February 28th, at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, and the family will sit shiva at 2101 Market Street, Apartment 1403, Philadelphia, on February 28th and 29th

She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Riva Love Marcus, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Laurel Hill West & Laurel Hill Funeral Home

225 Belmont Ave, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

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