I met Harry Rizzie in the summer of 1992. The first thing he said to me was: “I know you’re the new super, but my question to you is, just what is your athletic background?” That began a friendship which lasted these past 22 years.
Harry was one of the good guys, as he loved Bessemer and especially its kids weaving their way through our schools.
Harry was a man of short, meaningful questions and statements. He kept me on my toes and made me think. Harry was blessed with many friends and his voice on the radio kept the stay-at-home fan glued to the radio as he was simply the best sports announcer — ever. He was the original “silver-tongued orator,” a man who could mix and mince words in a fashion few others could emulate.
Harry served as master of ceremonies at numerous eighth grade graduation banquets at the VFW, as well as our high school athletic awards banquet. Everyone looked forward to such evenings as they knew of Harry’s outgoing style and he never failed to deliver. His personality was embracing. He was fun to be with, making you feel better being in his presence and keep things interesting. Harry always favored our cheerleaders, especially when he would call on them following dinner to pep us up with a cheer or to lead our beloved “Fling High the Bessemer Banner.”
I have always had a deep respect for Harry, as he made other people’s lives a little happier, a little richer, a little better. He was a charmer, a winner and a man who made you feel important. Harry knew all the kids’ names, what they played and especially how deeply he cared for them.
My life is richer for knowing and loving this giant of a man. Always positive, Harry was genuine and cared for his friends whose lives he deeply touched. Many tears have been shed with Harry’s passing. He touched our lives and we are each better off because of it.