Beverle Rivera, former mayor of Lakeland, died Aug. 11, 2023, at the age of 95. Rivera served as the first mayor of Lakeland from its incorporation in 1977 until 1989. A native of Memphis, Rivera attended Memphis State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She lived in Memphis; Boston; Closter, N.J.; and Puerto Rico before ultimately residing in Lakeland and was instrumental in the incorporation of the city. She also operated a day care in the area. Following her death, she left several items to the city including the first flag flown over Lakeland City Hall.