J. Robert “Bob” Rizza, 68, of Parsons passed away at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, at Labette Health.
Joseph Robert Rizza Jr. was born on Jan. 31, 1952, to Joseph Robert and Stephanie (Szylkonis) Rizza in West Newton, Massachusetts. He grew up and attended school in Newton and was often found working alongside his father at Echo Bridge Mobile gas station. After graduating from Newton High School, Bob earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Following college, Bob moved to Connecticut where he met Beatrice “Bea” L. Springer, whom he married on Oct. 1, 1983. The couple made their home in Trumbull, Connecticut, where they raised their two daughters, Jennifer and Lisa. Bob was heavily involved in his daughters’ lives and spent many weekends and weeknights helping the Trumbull High School Marching Band and Color Guard actively compete across New England. Bob enjoyed many years as a member at Mill River Country Club in Stratford, Connecticut, which always remained his favorite golf course. In 1998, Bob and Bea moved to Parsons and worked on land conservation on their property, as well as fostering horses with Rainbow Meadow Equine Rescue. Bob was actively involved in charitable fundraising and held an annual event at Claythorne Lodge to raise money for Rainbow Meadows. While not working, Bob competed in the Kansas State Sporting Clays shooting competition and played renowned golf courses, such as Pebble Beach, Firestone and TPC Sawgrass.
In his work life, Bob is remembered for owning and operating Todd Combustion in Stamford, Connecticut, and for later joining Power Flame as vice president of sales and marketing when he and Bea moved to Parsons. Bob was an active member of the American Boiler Manufacturing Association and served on the board for several years. Annually, Bob participated in the ASHRAE Convention, and he and Bea frequently hosted sales reps and business associates in their home, a measure of how they considered everyone “family.” Through his many years in the burner and boiler industry Bob traveled across the globe and forged international relationships from England to China, India to Brazil and numerous other locations.
Bob’s greatest joy came from spending time with his family. Sharing “farm life” with his “cow poke” grandchildren, golfing and visiting with his daughter, Jennifer, ski trip weekends with his daughter, Lisa, and recapping the day or watching football with his “HoneyBea,” brought Bob much happiness. In his death, Bob should be remembered by how he lived, with a huge heart, kindness, mentorship, generosity and the biggest smile anyone could ever know. There is no place that Bob traveled, or people who he met where he knew a stranger; Bob had a charisma to befriend anyone he met, and all who have known him are richer in heart and spirit.
Survivors include his beloved wife, Bea, of the home; two daughters, Jennifer Rizza of Vail, Colorado, and Lisa Jackson and her husband, Joseph, of Newtown, Connecticut; two grandchildren, Mason and Madison Jackson; a brother, Richard Rizza and his wife, Helen (Sturgis), and their two daughters, Jordan and Faith, of Hampton, New Hampshire; and a sister, Judy Davidoff and her husband, Gary, and their two children, Jodi and Joseph, of Sunrise, Florida.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents.
Bob’s wishes upon his death were to hold a celebratory party and for all his family and friends to toast his life. Because of restrictions and safety concerns with COVID-19, a celebration of Bob’s life will be held at a future date. His ashes will be spread at his home.
Memorials are suggested to Labette Health Foundation (www.labettehealth.com/ways-to-give/foundation-giving-opportunities) or Rainbow Meadows Equine Horse Rescue (www.rainbowmeadowsranch.com). The memorials may also be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS, 67357.
Online eulogies, toasts and memories of Bob may be shared at www.forbeshoffman.com.