ANTHONY LOUIS "TONY" RIZZO grew up in Camden NJ, where he attended Cooper B. Hatch Junior High School, Camden County Vocational School, and graduated in 1940 from Woodrow Wilson High School on Federal Street in East Camden. The Rizzo family lived at 714 Tulip Street during the 1930s and 1940s.
After serving in Europe during World War II, he returned to Camden, worked at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyards while attending Drexel on the G.I. bill. After graduating with a degree in engineering he found work with Hughes Aircraft in California, where he had a long and successful career.
Robert Stanton, a classmate and lifelong friend, wrote an article about Tony Rizzo, which he sent to me in May of 2006.
know a guy who has exhibited determination since he was a child. When
I met him in Junior High, he already had a toughness of spirit that
would stay with him the rest of his life. Not the tallest kid in his
neighborhood, he was never picked on by the local bullies because they
didn’t frighten him. A few fistfights quickly convinced them that it
was best to leave him alone because this kid never gave up and they
covered their chagrin by giving him a funny nickname.
spite of that, he was never mean or unkind to anyone else, and was
well-liked by the other boys and girls at school, but he was always
determined to succeed. Knowing him for so many years, I am certain
that his strength of character came directly from his father, who
survived such a tough childhood that even I like to tell people about
it. There was no nonsense at home while he was growing up, but he
always had a role model worth emulating.
my best friend in Hatch Junior High, Woodrow Wilson Senior High, and
Camden County Vocational School, we laughed together, worked together
after school, and managed to stay out of trouble. I knew what a good
mind he had, and how determined he was when he made it up. Perhaps his
only shortcoming was his impulsiveness, which gave us some funny
on, I saw examples of how he could win a competition by pure
determination. We used to try and see who could hold our breath the
longest, and I struggled for two minutes and 45 seconds, but he held
his for three minutes and laughed at me. This was a prelude to
underwater swimming at the school pool, which is where the real story
takes place. Each shop at the Vocational School had its own swim team,
and my buddy swam the breast stroke on ours. The best swimmers from
all the shops were on the school’s Varsity swim team that competed
later, he returned from fighting the Germans in WWII, but would only
tell us about the funny things that happened. He then completed his
machinists apprentice training at the N. Y. Shipyard where his father
was a skilled toolmaker, received an Engineering Degree at Drexel
while raising a family, and went on to a successful career with Hughes
Aircraft in California, always determined to do his best. Now in our
eighties, we are still best friends and he assures me that a few minor
physical problems never keep him from a much more active social life
than I could ever handle.
Who is this young fellow? Anyone who knows Tony Rizzo would have recognized him in the first few paragraphs. Surely the most determined man I have ever met, and a very good friend who still shares many laughs with me.
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