Marion graduated from Falconer High School in 1939, as a legendary varsity letter winner, earning 15 out of 16 possible varsity letters. He played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. He was invited for a two-week tryout for the football team at King College, Bristol, Tenn., and was granted a full scholarship. During his college years, he also was selected to play Class D professional baseball for the Bristol Twins, a New York Giants farm club, in the Appalachian League. While he was at King College, World War II broke out and he was one of two football players asked to organize a physical-training program for inactive reservists.
In 1943, Marion received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude, from King College. He then joined the U.S. Navy Reserve, graduating from Midshipman's School at the University of Notre Dame as a commissioned officer. He served his country during World War II as LCI Commanding Officer during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He also saw action in Africa, England, France, Italy and the Pacific Theater. Lt. JG Rizzo received the Jubilee of Liberty Medal. He was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of meeting relatives in Italy. While preparing for the Normandy invasion he received a letter from the New York Giants baseball team inviting him to try out at the Polo Grounds. The timing of that invasion prevented him from pursuing a career in professional baseball.
After Marion's discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1946, he served as a substitute teacher of French at Falconer High School. In 1947, he was accepted into the CPA Master's Degree program at Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, but chose not to attend because he just met his future wife, Ermina. He obtained his Master's Degree in Education from St. Bonaventure University in 1948. Later, he completed the required coursework for a Doctorate in Education. He taught French and Spanish at Salamanca High School for one year and from 1948 to 1985 he worked at Jefferson Junior High School and Jamestown High School in several capacities: as a teacher of algebra and science, guidance counselor and principal. He retired from the Jamestown Public Schools System in 1985.
Marion's interest in sports continued throughout his lifetime. He officiated basketball and football, as well as coaching American Legion Baseball and Braves Little League baseball. In 1988, he was honored to be chosen as one of the early inductees into the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Jamestown Teachers' Association, New York State Teachers' Association, National Educational Association, Chautauqua County Counselors' Association, the Henry Mosher Post #638 American Legion, Falconer, the Gaeta Club, Lakewood Rod & Gun Club and the Town Club. He also served as president of the Jamestown Schoolmasters Club, secretary of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, St. John's Church usher and served as president of the Parish Council.
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Ermina D'Angelo, whom he married July 24, 1948, in Jamestown; a son, Carl (Jennifer) Rizzo of Huntersville, N.C.; a daughter, Cindy (Don) Richetti of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; 10 grandchildren, Alison, Holden and Olivia Rizzo; Ryan, Logan and Vanessa Richetti; Shannon, Matthew, Katelyn and Kelly McCarthy; a sister, Connie Stinnett of Eden, N.Y.; and his sister-in-law, Frances T. D'Angelo of Jamestown.
Besides his parents. he was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Kathleen Rizzo McCarthy, who died in 1997.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Holy Apostles Parish at St. John Catholic Church. The Rev. Dennis W. Mende, pastor, will be celebrant. Burial will be in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Lind Funeral Home where a Christian Wake Service will be led by Deacon Samuel Pellerito of Holy Apostles Parish at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. Memorials may be made to the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 1192, Jamestown, NY 14701 or to Hospice Chautauqua County, 20 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY 14701.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.