Rick Escalera was born on February 14, 1958 during a snow storm, son of Enrique “Kike” A. Escalera and Francisca “Paquita” Escalera (Roman). Raised in New York City’s “El Barrio” (Spanish Harlem), Rick was a very sociable man who loved to hang out in the neighborhood and listen to Latin music and dance. He enjoyed going to Latin concerts, whether it was at Madison Square Garden, a block party, or even Orchard Beach on the weekends, as long as the music was always playing. He graduated from Saint Helena’s High School in NYC. In his early teenage years he worked with the Summer Youth Core Program called “El Grito,” as a counselor for kids on his summer vacations. After high school graduation he served in The National Guard and then worked for the Empire Insurance Company, where he met many friends, including his life-long best friends, Ruben and Jose, who later became his children’s Godfathers. He also worked for J.P Morgan Chase as a computer technician; Mount Sinai Hospital as a research/data collector in many Asthma Studies located throughout NYC; and several other companies in New York until he moved to Florida three years ago, retiring in 2020.
Rick was married to Margie, and even though they divorced, both remained close friends while raising two amazing children, Anthony and Jemenique. He was a loving baby brother to Elba and a loving older brother to Susan and Tanya, who were left with a deep impression of his love, support and were motivated to serve in the United States Armed Forces themselves. Many agree that Rick was charming, very personable and a good cook. He loved spending time with his family and especially loved the Christmas holiday season.
Rick is predeceased by his parents, and his daughter.
He is survived by his son Anthony and daughter-in-law, Melissa; his sister, Elba and brother-in-law, Jerry; his sister, Susan and brother-in-law, Reggie; and his sister, Tanya and brother-in-law, Jose. Rick is also survived by his son-in-law Ramien; and his five grandchildren, Lyndsey, Ayden, Jaycob, Aryanna, and Jelena who affectionately called him “Papabuleo.” Rick is survived and will missed by His uncle, several cousins, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and great nephews. Rick is greatly loved and will be remembered fondly by his family and friends.
Memorial Service to be held at, St. Joseph Catholic Church located at 210 W. Lemon St Lakeland, Florida 33815 on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 10:30am.
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