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Anthony “Tony” Joseph Rizzo was born October 30th, 1919 in St. Joseph, MO to Italian immigrant parents, Josephine (Cresanti) and Mateo Rizzo. He died August 31, 2018 in his home with family by his side.
He attended elementary school in St. Joseph, MO. When it came time to go to high school, his parents couldn’t afford the $8 a month it cost to go to Christian Brothers, so he took a year off and sold bananas on the street corner with his dad. He made about $1 a day, and was able to go to Christian Brothers in St. Joseph the next year. After high school, he went to college at MO Teacher’s College 1938-1941. During that time, he played linebacker for the Bearcats, who won the National Championship in 1938 and 1939.
His education was interrupted however, by the war, joining the Navy in 1942 at the age of 22. He was a Navy pilot, having studied aeronautics in college. Tony flew many dangerous missions in the South Pacific, and once flew his PBM under the Golden Gate Bridge. Tony was in the Navy until 1946, leaving the service at the rank of LT Senior Grade. He then went back to college at Northwest MO State to finish his teaching degree. There, he met Beverly Osburn. They were married June 11, 1949. After graduating from NWMS, Tony went to the University of Colorado to get his Master’s degree (Education).
His first teaching job was in Gorham, Kansas. In 1957, he left there to take a teaching job in Kansas City, at Westport High School. He spent most of his career there, teaching for a few years at Southwest High School before retiring. He was recently touched by being honored by the Westport High School graduating class of 1967. In addition to his regular teaching jobs, Tony taught night school at Junior College, and also taught swimming lessons and coached and officiated high school football and basketball.
Tony has always loved sports of many kinds, including football, basketball, baseball, and outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting. He continued to enjoy watching sports on TV until his final days, and was especially a loyal KC Royals and Chiefs fan. Most importantly, Tony was a wonderful husband and father who always had time for his family.
He was a member of St. Ann’s Parish in Plattsburg, MO and the Knights of Columbus.
Beverly and Tony were married for 66 years; Beverly died November 29th 2015. Tony was also preceded in death by his parents, and by his brothers Charlie and Joe Rizzo, and his sisters, Mary Rizzo and Rose Brown and by a niece, Cathie. Survivors include son, Dr. William M. Rizzo of Columbia, MO; daughter, Peggy (Don) Eldredge, of Lathrop, MO; son, Larry (Kathleen) Rizzo of Raytown, MO; grandchildren Jennifer (Heath) Keller, Nicholas Eldredge, Thomas Rizzo, Joseph Rizzo, and Kara Clingenpeel; great-grandchildren Alexa Rizzo, Allison Keller, and Jason Patrick; nieces and nephews.
A special “thank you” to those who helped us along the way to allow Dad (and Mom) to die with dignity in their own home: Dr. Ernie Cattaneo, Dr. Roman Enriquez, Dr. Jeffrey Krempec, Kelli Hoffman FNP, Gary Woodring, Fr. Joseph Totton, and Dad’s loving home care assistants Susi, Stacey, Cindee, Robert and Thelma.
Some of his last words, and those of his mother before him—“Have you had anything to eat?” Mangia bene, Dad. The best is saved for last.
The family requests no flowers. Contributions may be made in his honor to the Clinton County MO Fire and Rescue or to the Good Samaritan Center in Excelsior Springs, MO. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday, September 7th, 2018 at St. Ann Catholic Church in Plattsburg, MO. Rosary to begin at 9:45 AM followed by visitation until service time also at the church. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Plattsburg, MO with full Military Honors. Arrangements are under the direction of the Stith Family Funeral Home in Lathrop, MO. Online guestbook at www.stithfamilyfunerals.com.