Funeral services set for Naperville officer who died of cancer
Knowing the cancer was taking its toll during his last meeting with the Naperville police chief, Officer Juan Rios spoke of the things he loved most: his family, his career and the people with whom he served.
A 25-year veteran of the department, Rios was known for his solid character, strong work ethic, friendly demeanor and his integrity, qualities that ensured his success in any role he assumed, Chief Robert Marshall said. Rios died Jan. 1 at age 52 after a seven-year battle with cancer.
"His positive approach to life, his 'whatever I can do to help' attitude, shined brightly," Marshall said. "He will be truly missed by everyone in the community, as well as members of our police department."
The oldest of four siblings, Rios was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 5 years old, according to his obituary. The West Chicago resident always knew he wanted to be a police officer, loved ones say, and he built a reputation as someone who fights for what is right.
During his tenure with the Naperville Police Department after college, Rios served as a D.A.R.E. officer and later became a school resource officer for more than a decade. He managed the Citizen Police Academy for seven years and led the department's effort to gain its ninth accreditation status, Marshall said.
Rios had to adjust his work schedule and assignments during his battle with cancer, showcasing his versatility of talent, the chief said, and eventually transitioned to the area of policy and procedure development.
"Juan would look for ways and means to help others. He displayed a passion for our young people," Marshall said. "(He) overcame many challenges in his life, and he always did so with a can-do positive attitude."
Loved ones describe Rios as a devoted family man who wore his heart on his sleeve and "excelled at everything," according to his obituary. He exemplified "Officer Friendly," they said, and was known for his strong handshake and warm hug -- and his stellar grilling skills.
"He worked for everything he had and reminded us that nothing was handed down to him," loved ones said. Rios is survived by his wife of seven years, Jenny Smith; his children, Grace and Raymond Rios; his stepchildren, Alex and Maddie Smith; and his siblings, Patricia, Joe and Blanca Rios.
A public visitation begins at 9 a.m. Friday with a law enforcement walk-through planned from 11 a.m. to noon at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St., Naperville, officials said. A limited number of guests will be allowed inside at a time, and masks are required.
A procession will follow, leading to the funeral Mass at St. Thomas at the Apostle Church, 1500 Brookdale Road. The service begins at 1 p.m. and will be limited to 100 guests, with masks and social distancing required. A livestream of the Mass also will be available. Interment is private.