Laurah Clark Rizzo

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Mrs. Laurah Clark Rizzo passed from this life on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Largo, Fla., home of her son and daughter-in-law, Carmen and Clara Rizzo. She was 98 years old.

Born on the boat BIG PUPPY at Wachapreague on July 29, 1923, she was the daughter of Harry Spratley “Sprat” Clark, of Chincoteague, and Hettie Matilda Bedsole, of Beaver Dam, N.C.

She is predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Charles Joseph Rizzo, of Buffalo, N.Y., and Lutz, Fla.; a brother, Alger Thomas Clark, of Shrewsbury, N.J.; a sister, Ella Clark “Teddy” Wayne, of Pottersville, N.J.; and a sister, Hettie Clark Mayor, of Gulf Port, Fla.

Surviving is her youngest sister, Virginia “Terry” Clark Beccia, of Carrollwood, Fla. Also surviving are the six children of Laurah and Charles Rizzo: Laurah Charlene Rooney, Carmen Charles Rizzo, Joel Laurence Rizzo, Hettie Rizzo Gordon, Deirdre Ann Davis, and Jamie Clark Rizzo. In addition to her six children, Laurah is survived by 26 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Laurah graduated from Madison High School. During WWII she was a munitions worker, loading bomb detonators at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, N.J. She and her husband met during WWII in Miami and were married in Tampa, Fla. Following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1945, the couple resided in Monmouth County, N.J., where Charles worked as a mold maker.

Laurah worked as a service assistant for Bell Telephone Company/American Telephone and Telegraph (ATT). As an operator, she provided emergency help to the community, linking calls for public assistance to police, fire, and medical help, long before 911 was created. She was a union member and a Bell Telephone Pioneer. Her career spanned 50 years.

She and her husband raised their family in Tinton Falls, N.J., before retiring to Lutz, Fla.

Laurah Clark Rizzo is a fourth-generation descendant of James Lunn aka “James Alone,” who is said to have been the child survivor of an early 1800s shipwreck on Assateague. Her line is through his daughter, Comfort Lunn, wife of Samuel Clark, mother of E. Thomas Clark, father of Harry Spratley “Sprat” Clark, and father of Laurah Clark Rizzo.

Her body will be interred at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Fla., with family present.

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