We regret to inform you that Steve Rizzo, alumnus, died on April 23, 2007 at his home after a long bout with cancer.
Steve came to St. John's in 1932 and was here until 1943. Coming from Angel Guardian Home, he first was under the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In 1937 the Marianists came to St. John's. On May 7th he would have celebrated his 80th birthday.
After leaving St. John's (992 St. Mark's Ave.), Steve became an apprentice in a print shop. That would become his life work. In the Navy he was assigned as a gunner or armed guard for merchant ships. On his last ship, an aircraft carrier, however, when the officers read his resumé, they moved him to the print shop. Steve gained invaluable experience there that helped him become an expert in commercial printing. In his parish, Good Shepherd Church in Brooklyn, he often did drawings for the parish bulletin, especially for holidays and feasts editions. He gave invaluable tips to us for printing the Echoes of the Home.
Steve saw much of the world through the Navy: the Philippines, England, France, Panama, South America.
One day he was attending a wedding and noticed that one of the flower girls was holding a cherry bomb. Thinking quickly, he rushed over, took the bomb from her and hurled it into an open space. “Little girls shouldn't play with firecrackers”, he said. Unfortunately, the bomb exploded in his hand as he was throwing it away. Steve lost his hand as a result, but he saved the child.
Through the printing business, he met his wife, Anna Marie Hayes. They were happy and blessed with 9 children: Stephen, Bill, Patricia, Mike, Jim, Tom, Roseanne, Christine, and Regina. At his death, there were 15 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Anna Marie preceded him in death in 1993.
Steve has left a beautiful memorial in the Marian meditation garden on our property. He and his son Bill repaired and painted the statues of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus, and of the angels in profound adoration of their Lord. The family is hoping to fulfill one of his last wishes: “The statues should be repainted each year.”
For the last two years, Steve's strength was in Jesus, the Divine Mercy. He contemplated the picture of Divine Mercy. He said the chaplet each day. The promise of Jesus is that He will protect at the end those who trust in His Mercy. Steve was constantly saying the simple prayer, even in his moments of suffering: “Jesus, I trust in You”.
To his family, we at St. John's offer our sincere condolences. Many of the alumni knew him well, since he came to every reunion he could. May the Lord now grant him eternal life.