Always young at heart, Christy G Rizzo passed away at the age of 95 on June 29, 2020. He was born in a small house in Astoria, New York on January 30, 1925 to Mary and James Rizzo. He spent his childhood in Astoria where he loved sports, especially playing roller hockey in the street with his friends, Ralph, Johnny and Dave.
Graduating early from high school in January, 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and served on the destroyer escort USS Runels. During World War II, the USS Runels completed missions in the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; among them was the evacuation of Allied POWs from Japanese camps at the war’s end. However, the story he liked to tell his daughters about the war was how he and his friends cooked zeppole for themselves in the engine room.
Shortly after returning home from the war, he met Mary Kavanagh. They were married in 1948 in Saint Joseph’s Church in Astoria. Christy soon began working for the JC Penny company in their Manhattan office, his career lasting over thirty years. Throughout that time, he lived with his wife and two daughters in Flushing, New York. He was eventually blessed with three granddaughters. Christy loved to be surrounded by people. He and Mary frequently hosted large gatherings of family and friends in their house and yard in Flushing and eventually at the dream house they had built on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut after they both retired.
Everyone that knew him would agree that Christy was a generous man. His two favorite things to share were food – he was a terrific cook- and his sense of humor, but he also offered his time and his skills to others. He had endless patience as he taught his many nieces, nephews and his children’s friends how to water ski. He helped build a public playground near his home in Brookfield where his granddaughters would eventually play. He was active on food drives, toy drives and clothing drives. When his neighbor’s child was paralyzed by a tragic accident, he organized a fundraising event to raise money to buy the family a specially equipped van.
Devastated by the death of his beloved wife in 2001, Christy moved from Candlewood Lake to Heritage Hills in Somers, New York. He was immediately welcomed by a wonderful group of people, with whom he swam at the pool, played shuffleboard and, of course, bocce. He often organized events for his friends like luncheons and outings and was well known for trying to include everyone in the fun.
Eventually illness slowed him down, but he never lost his sense of humor or his craving for “grease-cutters,” his pre-desert sweets.
Christy is survived by his daughter Nancy Maika, sons-in-law Dennis Maika and Jim Kramer, along with his three granddaughters, Elizabeth Leighton (m. Rich Leighton), Alison Kramer-Kuhn (m. Joe Kuhn), Julianne Maika, and as his 2 great-grandchildren Henry Leighton and Mary Leighton. He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Mary, his sister, Jenny, his daughter Kathy, and his wife Mary who was the love of his life.
Due to health risks caused by the current pandemic, burial services will be private.
Those wishing to remember him with a charitable donation are encouraged to support cureHHT. https://curehht.org/