Harry Richard Rizzie


IRONWOOD, Mich. — Harry Richard Rizzie, 85, of Bessemer, died Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at Aspirus Grand View Hospital with his family and excellent intensive care personnel at his side.

Harry was born July 16, 1928, in Bessemer, the son of the late Henrico and Vera (Bari) Rizzie. He graduated from A.D. Johnston High School with the class of 1946, where he excelled in football, basketball, track and field and baseball.

After graduation he moved to Chicago, where he worked as a tool and dye maker with his sister’s husband, Florian Bolka.

In 1950, Harry entered the U.S. Army, and he was number one in the class at Camp Gordon, Georgia Military Police Academy.

After the Korean War, he returned to Bessemer in 1952 to work in the Anvil and Ramsay iron mines. After the iron mines closed, he hauled beer for Serafino Fiori and Billy Boline.

In 1968, he discovered another talent and worked at WJMS Radio as a sports announcer and radio personality, retiring in 1995 at age 67. He then enjoyed his retirement until his death.

On July 10, 1954, Harry married Jen Kerk from Mississippi. She preceded his in death on March 25, 1994. He was raised a Catholic, but upon marriage he changed to his wife’s Lutheran religion.

Also in 1954, he helped organize the Bessemer Little League program. He helped build Steiger Little League Field, where he also coached for several seasons. In addition, he coached football, basketball and local baseball teams, and played men’s league baseball, slow pitch and fast pitch softball. He briefly played hockey, but an ankle injury shortened that.

He also enjoyed fishing, hunting and going to his cottage at Lake Gogebic.

The “master” of personal and other nicknames, he coined the name “House of Noise” for Bessemer’s A.D. Johnston gymnasium. He was a witty, wise and caring husband and dad, and he will be forever missed.

He was a member of Sharon Lutheran Church in Bessemer, the Bessemer VFW Post 3673, and the Bessemer Legion Post 27.

In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by one sister, June Bolka; and a great-granddaughter, Aubrey Mercier.

Harry is survived by his son, Richard, of Bessemer; his daughter, Renee’ (Ramon) Alexandroni, of Escanaba; a stepgranddaughter, Nycole (Terry) Mercier, of Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and great-granddaughters Alyssa, Aryanna and Gianna.

A private family service was held.

Burial was in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer.

Arrangements are by Range Funeral Service and Crematory, Ketola-Burla Funeral Home.


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