Patricia Roundtree Rivers

Matthew 5:9. Romans 12:18. James 3:17-18. The Bible is full of scriptures about the importance of loving one another and living in peace with your neighbors. Patricia Roundtree Rivers took them all to heart and in the process, earned a reputation of caring and selfless service. The longtime community servant passed away on July 4, having earned her rest. She was 76.

Roundtree was born on January 27, 1947 to Melvin and Juanita Roundtree in Sacramento. She grew up in Del Paso Heights on 3725 Branch Street with her four little sisters–Gwendolyn, Sandra, Melba, and Sheila. She attended North Ave Elementary, then Del Paso Jr. High and completed her high school education at Grant High School. She also attended American River College briefly. Roundtree went on to work at McClellan Air Force Base for 30 years. 

On December 12, 1970 she married the love of her life, Ben Rivers, Jr. of Karnack, Texas. The two had a daughter, Cheneqa P. Rivers. After working for the government, she went on to own and operate a home daycare. Her grandson was her first client and she lovingly cared for many other children over the years. 

“Sistah Pat” was all about ministry, which started early, after committing her life to Christ in her mid-20s. She went on to establish multiple women’s retreats from Wolf Mountain to Camp Alta. She also headed up the youth programs at Allen Chapel AME as well as New Life Baptist Church. 

She later became a part of the California Southern Baptist Convention, heading up the National Heart Call Women’s Evangelism Division and traveling all over the U.S. teaching women how to share their love of Jesus without fear or hesitation. Roundtree Rivers had the distinction of being the first Black woman to chair the Sacramento Association of Southern Baptist Churches.

As an anointed preacher, speaker and teacher Sistah Pat was best known for “keeping it real.” Through those gifts, she developed ongoing ministries for women including Preparing to be a Wife, Wive’s Chat, Women’s Clergy, The Invitation, Praying Friends, and the annual We Honor You Luncheon she held in honor of her mother and other women over the age of 62. Although her ministries were geared toward women, anyone who knew her knew she had a special place in her heart for men. 

Roundtree Rivers co-pastored what is now the For His Glory Church with her husband and fully embraced the role. Together, they served the community through feedings, free clothing giveaway and efforts to stop the violence in Del Paso Heights. She was described as a “beacon of light, love, and refuge for anyone who came to the doors of the church.”

Sistah Pat was also known throughout Sacramento as a social activist for peace and change. She was a part of Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT), a member of the National Prayer Counsel and sat in on a multitude of political and law enforcement meetings to help city leaders work toward peace in the valley. Through these connections she was also invited multiple times to the The U.S. Capitol to do what she does best and stir up folks to be about change.

A supportive relative, Roundtree Rivers “showed up” for her loved ones. She traveled all over the country to be present for graduations, performances and sporting events. She also extended that same support to church friends and those she knew from her neighborhood. She believed in “loving on” folks no matter what their walk of life looked like to the outside world.

Sistah Pat is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Ben Rivers, Jr.; daughter, Cheneqa P. Rivers; step daughter Danielle McKee’ and god daughter Alonda “Sherise” Hicks (Camille); grandchildren Langston Rivers Howard (Tatiyana), William (Patrick) Moore, Jerime (Jeaneal) Moore, Samina Scott, Maurice, Keith, Sunomie, Sara (Josh), Anquanique, William, Andrea, Dreleana (Emanuel),  and Alfreeda. Also left to cherish her memory are her great-grandchildren La’melle Isaiah, Alinah Charlene, Alexander, Isaac, Anastasia, Luke James, Josiah, Zayden, Andre, Bella Rose, Noah, Dvonye, Aceton, Sariyah, and Wiley and her loving and devoted sisters– Gwendolyn Russell (Walter), Sandra McClain (Bernard), Melba Mims (Harvey), and Sheila Roundtree and brothers- in-laws, Osburne (Henry Issac) Boykins, Willie Rivers (Patty), and Joe Rivers. There are also a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews of California, Colorado, Texas, New York, and Maryland.

A service for Roundtree Rivers was Saturday, July 15 at 11:00 a.m. at Morgan Jones Funeral Home.