Katharine Frenier Rivera

Katharine Frenier Rivera, age 35, of Newport News, VA left this earthly life unexpectedly on Friday, September 2, 2022.

 Katie was a vibrant, spirited, and loving person who would light up a room just by being there. Blessed with beauty, brains, spirit, and love, exactly like her mother Karen Lynn Brown Frenier, she was a force of nature that demanded you take notice. Katie was a born instigator that required you to join in the party or stand aside, but she was also the person that would take the time to sit with a friend, no matter how old or new, and be the quiet rock of support during difficult times. Katie suffered the loss of her mother on May 5, 2013. This loss was very difficult for her, but it awoke in her a love of life and a drive to live life on her terms. Katie married her most loving husband, Christian Rivera, on July 7, 2014 (with her brother Mark officiating!) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Katie gave birth to her beautiful mini-me, Maedyn Lynn Rivera on May 12, 2016.

Born on October 2, 1986, in Soldotna, Alaska, the following year she moved with her family to Yorktown, Virginia where Katie lived and attended school until she graduated from Grafton High School in 2004. Katie then attended Thomas Nelson Community College and attained an Associate of Arts Degree while working full-time in the restaurant industry at numerous venues throughout Newport News and Hampton, Virginia. Most recently Katie was part owner of her own business in Phoebus. During this period of her life, Katie touched the soul of so many people, being the driving force behind the success of many establishments, particularly her most prized accomplishment, the Phoebus Dive Bar in Phoebus, VA. Where, with the unwavering support of friends and family, she worked numerous hours, cried some tears, fought many battles, and beat the odds to make her dream come true. Her staff and her patrons all loved it when Katie was in charge!

In addition to her devoted husband and loving daughter, Katie leaves behind a large family who loved her unconditionally without bonds. Her parents: Douglas E. and Deborah J. Frenier (Karen Brown Frenier – 2013), brothers and sisters: Rebecca Frenier Jones (Randy), Robert D. Frenier (Kim), Mark D. Frenier, Jennifer M. Graham (Jason), Ashley J. Smith and Christopher M. Smith. Maternal grandparents Charlie and Peggy Brown and paternal grandparent Hannah Frenier (Julius A. Frenier – 2017). Mother and father-in-Law: Jacqueline Salgado (Lorenzo) and Edward Rivera. Katie was especially close to her nieces and nephew; Natalia D. Frenier, Iyana J. Smith, and Stephen M. Smith. Numerous Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and other relatives will miss Katie and her spirited personality deeply.

A celebration of Katie’s life will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. at the Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601. Following the service, the family will receive friends until 5:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to Orphan or St. Jude’s Hospital in the name of Katharine Frenier Rivera would be most appreciated.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home.



  1. Sonny & Becki Hendricks

    What a wonderful tribute to one of the most fantastic people we’ve ever known! Katie was the most amazing person! Welcoming, loving, sweet as she could be but don’t dare test her!! We shared far too many laughs and joys with her over the years! Her sassy, charismatic personality and energy was truly something special!
    We will always remember that laugh and smile and the way her eyes lit up when she said anything about Maedyn! We always loved getting to see her mini-me and even at a young age she already had her momma’s facial expressions!
    Our hearts are truly broken and she will always hold a very special place that no one else will fill! Love to all the family and hoping for any level of peace you can find during this horrible time.

  2. Pam Nicholls

    I only had the opportunity to meet Katie twice, once at a Company picnic where Katie and Christian brought their puppy for everyone to meet. Katie’s smile and laughter were contagious, there was a spirit of joy about her that was unforgettable. The second time was when they brought Maedyn into the office. She was so precious and had that same spirit about her Christian told me about his girl, his smart, beautiful, feisty Katie and I had the privilege to meet her, Christian, Please know that You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers my friend.






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