June 20, 1936 – May 8, 2020
Carmine Rizzo, 83, of Hartford, beloved husband, father, nonno, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, and friend, passed away peacefully on May 8, 2020. Carmine had an unwavering work ethic that he applied to all he did; believing that if a job needed doing, it was important to give it your best. He valued family, working hard, sharing the fruits of one’s labor, and respecting others; instilling those values in his children (and any who listened). Never one to shy away from a challenge, he believed all obstacles could be overcome with a never-give-up attitude and hard work. Born on June 20, 1936 in Chiusano San Domenico, province of Avellino, Italy, he was the youngest son of the late Enrico and Nunzia (DeNapoli) Rizzo. Upon immigrating to the United States, he became a legal U.S. resident on November 23, 1966. Shortly thereafter he was employed by Colt Manufacturing Company where he fulfilled many different roles as a machinist in his 47-year career. Even after his retirement, he continued to recognize the important role Colt played in being able to shape the life he created in America. Carmine met Angela in early 1973 and knew she was “the one” for him. They married on October 13 of the same year and started their home together in Hartford, CT. There they raised their children and hosted family and friends on Saturday nights for conversation, card games, and PLENTY of food and homemade wine. He always said that no matter the occasion, the food and drink always had to be good and plentiful. Anything less than that was simply not acceptable. Carmine continued his Neapolitan traditions of gardening, wine-making, and sausage-making throughout his life and shared those passions with his family. Spring often found him preparing the gardens, tending to his seedlings and making sure the soil was “properly dug” and fertilized for his plantings. Summer often found him, shirtless, tending to his gardens where he loved to see everything grow. We often said that he could make a plant grow out of concrete if he wanted to. The backyard was his sanctuary where he spent time ensuring no weeds grew among his precious tomato and cucumber plants and numerous other herbs and vegetables. Passersby would often stop and chat with him about his garden and it was not uncommon for them to leave with “a few” tomatoes or heads of lettuce. Keep in mind that “a few” to Carmine would be a dozen or more tomatoes, 8-10 heads of lettuce, and whatever else was available that he could offer someone whenever they visited. Always thinking of others, it was not uncommon for him to deliver items he harvested or invite them to come over and take “a few.” He loved being outdoors and spent his summers going to Hammonasset Beach, barbecuing no matter the weather, walking, and sitting on his patio playing cards, checkers, or chatting with family and friends. Autumn ushered in the labor-intensive process of winemaking – a wine that he would often say would put hair on your chest. His family, and later his grandchildren, loved and had fun sharing in this tradition. Visits to his home always meant his home-made wine would be placed on the table for people to enjoy and take home a gallon for themselves. Of course this was also the season that fulfilled his passion of foraging for mushrooms which, often times, resulted in his frustration of having someone else take what he had been waiting to grow a bit more! The excitement and pride when a mission was successful will forever be remembered. Winter saw him prepare the home for his outdoor holiday light display, which he took great pride in. Never one to go without his love for cured meats, winter was also his time of sausage making and debating whether cotechini should be made as well. Regardless of the time of year, he would often tell people it was important to “keep-a go, keep-a go.” Whether going to the gym, walking, dancing, tirelessly tinkering around the house and yard, or shopping for the best produce deals, he always tried to be as active as possible. The exceptions: watching soccer or boxing and reruns of his favorite TV shows and movies. In those times, his exuberance manifested itself in loud cheering, yelling, and bouts of laughter. Especially remembered will be the deep belly laughs each of the many times he watched the movie, My Cousin Vinny. Above all, Carmine lived for his family, working hard to provide for them throughout his life. He was a man of strong morality and conviction in his beliefs. He often said there was a right and wrong way of doing things, but his way was definitively the right way. Others would say that he had a testa dura (or capo tosta) but obviously they were wrong. He was a simple man who found his greatest joys by living simply and giving to others; cherishing the times spent with those he loved. He will be remembered for his generosity, integrity, ever-ready willingness to lend a helping hand, sense of humor, and contagious laugh. In his later years, some of his greatest moments, and happiest times, were times gathered around the table, sharing conversation and a meal, introducing his grandsons, daughter-in-law, and son-in-law to some of his hobbies, spending time playing with his grandkids, and sharing his love of fruit with them (especially persimmons). His grandsons, especially, brought him immeasurable amounts of joy that will always be remembered. Leaving to celebrate his life is his wife of 46 years, Angela; his daughter, Nunzia (“Nancy”) Lamore and her husband Michael (or Mikey as he loved to call him), of Newington, and his son, Enrico (“Rick”) Rizzo and his wife Christina of Glastonbury. He also leaves his cherished grandsons, Carmine Rizzo and Angelo Rizzo who love and will miss their Nonno very much. Carmine also leaves his brother Generoso (Gioso) Rizzo and his wife Sandra of Wethersfield, nephews Vincenzo Pagliuca and Aleksey Magno, nieces Kelly Morin and Rosa Iacobucci, along with several grandnieces, grandnephews, and extended family members in America and Italy. In addition to his parents, Carmine was predeceased by his brother, Enrico Rizzo, sister Amelia Pagliuca (and her husband Ferdinando), and brother Raffaele Rizzo (and his wife Anna). Burial at Village Cemetery will be private. A celebration of Carmine’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Dr, Wallingford, CT 06492, or the American Lung Association, 45 Ash St, East Hartford, CT 06108. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for all of the caregivers that provided Carmine medical and emotional support in his final weeks. His family asks that you all perform an act of kindness and raise a glass in salute to him. The D’Esopo Funeral Chapel of Wethersfield has been entrusted by the family with the arrangements. For online expressions of sympathy to the family, please visit www.desopofuneralchapel.com. We love you Daddy with all of our heart and soul and you will be deeply missed. Your life lessons and spirit will never be forgotten and we will never forget to “keep-a go, keep-a go.” Salute Daddy.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
May 20, 2020
My deepest sympathy to all the family and friends. I have wonderful memories from the old Casa Mia with Carmine and his family. He was likable from the start with his infectious smile and his high spirits. He will be missed dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of need.
May 18, 2020
We are so sorry for your loss and consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to know him. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Our love to everyone.
The Lahtinens- John, Malisa, John and Emmy
May 15, 2020
Angela, Nancy, Ricky, Tina, Mike, and extended family,
I'm sorry for your loss. He was a good person, full of life, and always with a ready smile as he offered a bottle of his home made wine. Nothing I can say would do justice to ease the loss of a loved one. The obituary and the videos say it all. As much as we will miss him, the almighty knew it was his time and called him home. As he will for all of us when it's our turn.
May 12, 2020
A beautiful obituary and so true. My deepest sympathy to Angela, Nancy, Ricky and the family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.