Stella Maria Rizzo, 97 years old has passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 4,
2021; after having pneumonia. Stella resided at the Saint James Nursing Home in Saint
James, New York at the time of her passing.
Stella was born August 18, 1923 in Zejtun, Malta and came to America with her brothers
and sister as teenager and lived with her parents Carmelo and Guiseppa Bugeia,
brothers Joseph, Salvatore, and sister Frances on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan. Though times were meager for an immigrant family, their home was
overflowing with an abundance of love. Stella was always incredibly proud of her
Maltese heritage and often spoke of her childhood and memories from there and would
share wonderful recipes and traditions that even today her great grandchildren continue
to keep alive.
Stella, a devout Catholic who attended church regularly caught the eye of a handsome
usher named Michael Rizzo. The two fell in love and went on to marry July 9th,
1944. In this union they lived in Manhattan, and later Brooklyn, NY where they had two
beautiful daughters Joanne and Marie. They were great sources of pride for
them. Together both daughters gave Stella and Michael 5 grandchildren and 14 great
Stella first and foremost was devoted wife and dedicated Mother. Stella also worked
tirelessly for a woman of her time as a Seamstress in the Garment Union. Later in life
when her children were grown and had families of their own; in retirement she devoted
her free time to the Parish of Our Lady of Miracles in Brooklyn, NY where she was a
choir singer and religious education teacher helping the youth of her Canarsie
community make their first Holy Communion and other sacraments. Her passion for her
faith trickled down to her grandchildren who would then go on to be altar servers,
Eucharistic ministers, Ushers and Lectors. She loved to cook for her family and friends,
always had her door open and something in the oven in case you dropped by and was
never so happy as when her grandchildren would come see her just because. She also
enjoyed her weekly walk to the deli to get her Lotto ticket because Hey, you never
know. And as we all have some guilty pleasures, Stella’s was the Soap Opera “One Life
Stella is survived by her daughter Marie (James) Hughes, Son in law Frank Rodolico,
grandsons Michael Rodolico, James (Sky) Hughes, Michael (Erin) Hughes and
granddaughter Jennifer (Anthony) Rabbito. She is also survived by her 14 great
grandchildren who affectionately knew her as “Nana.”
Stella is predeceased by her husband Michael J. Rizzo (3/23/ 2009), Daughter Joanne
Rodolico (11/2019) and Grandson Frank Rodolico, Jr. (9/27/2011) and was the
remaining sibling to join her parent’s arms in Heaven.
In order to honor Stella’s life, Mass will be taking place on Tuesday March 16, 2021 10:30am
at Sts. Philip and James R.C.C., Saint James, NY at PM with burial to take place
immediately after at St. John’s cemetery in Middle Village, NY where Stella will be taken
to her final resting place beside her husband. For more information, please contact
Saint James Funeral Home at 631.584.5200.
Thank you to all who have loved and known Stella. Please keep her in your prayers.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stella M. Rizzo, please visit our floral store.