The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Obituary: Robert G. Rizza, M.D.

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  • HALSTEAD — Robert G. Rizza, M.D., 81, retired pediatrician and general practitioner, died on Wednesday (Sept. 19, 2012). Rosary service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 23, 2012), and funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday (Sept. 24, 2012), both at Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Halstead. Dr. Rizza was born on Oct. 31, 1930, the second son of Al and Georgia Hall Rizza in Savannah, Ga. He was a 1948 graduate of Benedictine Military School, Savannah, and he received his B.S. degree in biology at the University of Georgia in 1952 and his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1956. Prior to his graduation from medical school, he married his college sweetheart, Katherine “Kitty” M. Redmond on Jan. 29, 1956, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Savannah. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from May 1956 through February of 1965, where he completed his internship in Portsmouth, Va., and residency in Oakland, Calif. Dr. Rizza served as staff pediatrician at the U.S.N Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, and was assistant chief of pediatrics at the U.S.N. Hospital in Portsmouth, Va. He was a Vietnam-era veteran. Moving to Kansas in the spring of 1965, he was chief pediatrician at the Hertzler Clinic in Halstead from 1965 until he started his own general practice in his home, specializing in family medicine, in 1976. Dr. Rizza retired in 1996 when he and Kitty moved to Garfield, Ark., near Beaver Lake in Lost Bridge Village, where they remained before returning to Kansas in 2009. Interests and hobbies included music, woodworking, raising English Setters, reading, hunting, fishing, baking and farming. Dr. Rizza was very interested in diversification of Kansas agriculture and was instrumental in development of farm winery legislation. He also was recognized nationally by the Vinefera Wine Growers Association as recipient of their Montieth Trophy, yet he was most proud of receiving the Harold Rae Award, bestowed upon him by the Halstead Chamber of Commerce. He is survived by his wife, Kitty; daughter, Katy Coy (Bill) of Wichita; sons, Stephen Rizza (Sarah) of rural Burrton, Andrew Rizza (Beth) of Hesston and Jeremy Rizza (Chris) of Wichita; brother, Frank A. Rizza, M.D., of Savannah, Ga.; and grandchildren, Shawn Rizza (Pam) of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Grace, Zach and Will Rizza of Hesston, Luke Rizza of Lake Ozark, Mo., and Olivia Rizza of rural Burrton; and great-granddaughter, Kate Rizza of Lee’s Summit, Mo. Memorials have been established with Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Halstead and Benedictine Military School, Savannah, Ga. Services by Kaufman Funeral Home; internment in Savannah to be announced at a later date.
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