Stella M. Rizzo

August 18, 1923 ~ March 4, 2021 (age 97)

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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

to Live.”

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.


Funeral Mass
March 16, 2021

10:30 AM
Sts. Philip & James RC Church
454 N. Country Rd.
St. James, NY 11780

Interment following funeral service
March 16, 2021

St. John Cemetery
80-01 Metropolitan Ave
Middle Village, NY 11379

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