REMEMBERING

Marilyn K. Rizzo

1948

-

2023

Marilyn Kay Rizzo was born on February 11, 1948, in Hammond, Indiana and died 75 years later on December 17, 2023, in Downers Grove, Illinois. She was welcomed into the world by parents, John and Katherine Creekmore, who raised her and her brother Earl in a home built by her father and grandfather. Marilyn didn’t move too far away for college, attending Purdue University in her home state. After graduation, she became a food and consumer science teacher, imparting both her love for cooking and her knowledge on important home economics topics onto each student who passed through her classroom.

Marilyn was generous, selfless, and valued her family above all else. She married Nick Rizzo on July 8, 1972, and they celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. Marilyn had pets throughout most of her life, and the couple recently started adopting elderly cats in need of a loving home. Marilyn took time off of teaching to raise her children, Michelle and Denise. Whether serving on various school committees, attending athletic events and music concerts, or sewing loose buttons, she was heavily involved in the lives of her children and grandchildren. Marilyn moved to Downers Grove to be closer to her grandchildren. Marilyn was affectionately called “Nana” by Denise’s daughter, Nickie. Michelle’s children, Denise, Lucy, and Sarah, called her “Grandma Flower,” as she had a penchant for floral patterns. Though Marilyn may have retired from the classroom, she continued sharing her expertise with her family by sewing loose buttons, transcribing recipes, and everything in between. The tradition she perhaps treasured the most was when the family came together around the holidays to bake kieflies.

Marilyn is survived by her brother, Earl (Sue); husband of 51 years, Nick; two daughters, Michelle (Bob) and Denise; four grandchildren: Denise, Lucy, Sarah, and Nickie; and many nieces and nephews. She will return to Indiana to be interred in a mausoleum with her mom and dad.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 22 from 11-12 followed by a service from 12-12:30 at the Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft Street, Merrillville, IN. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hospice Support Foundation. Their website is www.hospicesupportfoundation.org/donate/ and checks should be made payable to “Hospice Support Foundation” and sent to the following address:

Hospice Support Foundation
Attn: Mary Mimay
7755 3rd Street North, Suite 200
Oakdale MN 55128

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Barbara and Gary Levin
Barbara and Gary Levin
2 months ago

Marilyn and Nick Rizzo were our backyard neighbors for 37 wonderful years. Our daughters grew up along side their daughters and became good friends. Many birthday parties and backyard get-togethers were shared between our families.
Marilyn was always so friendly, kind, and thoughtful, and we will miss her. Gary and I always considered ourselves so fortunate to have had such a terrific couple for neighbors and friends.
We send our deepest condolences to the family.

With sympathy,
Barbara and Gary Levin

COLLEEN BENEDICT
COLLEEN BENEDICT
2 months ago

so sorry to hear of your loss, over the years i have seen many pictures of her enjoying her life, my thoughts and prayers are with the Rizzo family.

Karen, Tim, and Ryan Visich
Karen, Tim, and Ryan Visich
2 months ago

Uncle Nick, Michelle, Bob, Denise, Nicki, Denise, Lucy, and Sarah – we have so many lovely memories of Aunt Marilyn. She was such a kind and compassionate woman, and I know that she will be greatly missed. Our hearts are with all of you.
Love, Karen, Tim, and Ryan.

Linda Kohl
Linda Kohl
2 months ago

I first met Marilyn when we both started 7th grade at Morton Junior High. I came from Caldwell Elementary and she from Harding. Anyway, we became fast and best friends immediately and started sleepovers and other activities quickly. Even though we lived far apart, she has always been one of my closest friends. Here are a few of my cherished memories.

Sleepovers. My house was not at all conducive for sleepovers. I had 2 sisters and my bedroom was between my folks and theirs. We also had no sleeping accommodations downstairs. But, Marilyn’s folks’ house on Woodmar was a dream. The rec room downstairs (I think) had cubbies/book shelves laden with games. And, to me, the room was spacious. We had fun playing games and enjoying delicious snacks from Mrs. C. I think we even slept downstairs. And, of course, Mrs. C made fantastic breakfasts for us young girls. I know that I tried to get invites over often.

Christmas. From the start, I was amazed at the Creekmore holiday activities. There was always a giant Christmas tree with so very many Christmas presents under the tree that they easily overran the Christmas skirt every year. I always thought: “There’s just Marilyn and Earl and one is a boy!!! What could possibly be in those gifts?”

On top of that and the reason for my frequent visits over the Christmas holiday was the enclosed large back porch that was covered with an extremely wide assortment of Christmas goodies on tables so close together that only a small walkway wound through the area. I loved it. Marilyn and her mom would hand me a large container to select anything I wanted to take home and share with my family and also a plate to enjoy while visiting. Who thinks my family ever got any of the goodies? I certainly don’t remember sharing them.

In adulthood, Marilyn continued both traditions of the huge Christmas tree with scads of presents and holiday baking. As we entered adulthood, I stayed permanently in East Lansing, MI and only came home on holidays.  Every year at Christmas, I would make sure to catch up with Marilyn; then Marilyn and Nick; then Marilyn, Nick, and the girls; and then me and my daughter Rachel. When we had our own children, we’d exchange small gifts for the girls at the same time.  That continued through Marilyn’s grandchildren. We would talk for a few hours and meet and learn about the menagerie (at times) of pets. Marilyn always made sure to offer me treats which at times were laid out on the dining room table. The yearly visits only stopped once Nick and Marilyn moved to Downers Grove; although one year Marilyn, Denise and Nicole stopped at my sister’s in Highland just off I-94 on their way out to Earl’s. My daughter and I will always remember fondly this Christmas tradition we observed for so many years.

1964 Trip out East. In 1964 Marilyn’s mom arranged for us to join a girl scout summer vacation out east. We were not girl scouts but Mrs. Creekmore volunteered to chaperone. Along with the troop, we visited Pennsylvania where we went to Hershey, Pennsylvania Dutch communities, Philadelphia, pretzel making and saw many Hex barns. In New York City we went to the 1964 World’s Fair with the large world globe you can see in “Men in Black”, saw a show at Radio City Music Hall, and climbed up the Statue of Liberty. We then went to Boston, definitely Maine, and Quebec City which was so quaint and intriguing. This was a wonderful trip, filled with adventures and places that I haven’t had or seen since. 

A random trip to Purdue. I remember one time Marilyn and I went with her dad to visit Purdue. I don’t know if it was a potential college visit or a visit to see Earl. All I remember was that on the drive after night had fallen she and I talked about inventing an all-in-one washer/dryer. (Boy, that took a long time to appear on the market and it’s still not even what we really had in mind.)   It’s an odd memory but it sticks in my mind to this day.

Some Odds and ends.

  • In junior high our science teacher accused me of copying off Marilyn. We had a project where we had to prepare a folder with a variety of identified leaves. Of course, Marilyn’s was expertly and carefully prepared and mine was my usual unartistic display. But, I guess the issue was that she and I had some of the more interesting and unusual findings in common. I remember being shocked at the accusation. I should point out that the teacher never once accused Marilyn of allowing me to cheat. Teachers loved Marilyn and occasionally would ask her if she was Earl’s sister.  I told the teacher that many of my leaves came from the fancy garden behind Hammond City Hall which was 3 blocks from my grandmother’s. I was then exonerated. 
  • In high school, girls had to take Home Ec and boys had to take shop. Marilyn and I were in Home Ec together. I would go over to her house while she would patiently try to show me how to cut a pattern correctly, how to sew my one project – a green simple skirt, how to do the hem, and how to insert a zipper. I only succeeded, if you can call it that, in 2 of these: pattern cutting and sewing pieces together. I failed at the hem, which should have been easy, and the zipper. Well, she tried in earnest but to no avail. She had so much more success teaching others when she taught at Munster High.
  • We were both mid-termers, meaning that we started each new grade in the middle of the year. Remember: this was the baby boom era and there were plenty of kids who started school in the middle of the year because they had turned 5 later in the year than other kids. At Morton High, you could not graduate in the middle of the year. So, the midtermers (Marilyn and myself) had to choose to graduate in 3 ½ or 4 ½ years. My folks were eager for me to go (lol, not really) so I chose to graduate in 3 ½ years but Marilyn stayed 4 ½ years. When I graduated, I bequeathed (either in the yearbook or some senior publication) her the presidency of the Tutors’ Club.
  • Marilyn was one of my bridesmaids when I got married in 1968. I believe I was in hers because I still have and use always one of the bridesmaids’ gifts: a handmade recipe holder. I only recently discarded the travel kit due to its falling apart as a result of frequent use.  However, I don’t remember the wedding at all but I’m sure the 2 items were from Marilyn.  Marilyn and the girls came to Rachel’s wedding in 2015. However, I couldn’t make Michelle’s because we were in the Canadian Rockies on vacation at the time. It sounded spectacular – downtown Chicago, I think.

Marilyn and Nick raised two wonderful, bright daughters who actually love and cherish each other – sort of rare these days with siblings. Their parenting style and their values were such that Michelle and Denise are not only respectful to everyone but kind, generous, thoughtful, considerate, and caring. They have gone on to instill these values into their children. It’s a testament to Marilyn and Nick that their daughters thought so much of the way they were raised to continue that style with their kids.  Marilyn and Nick provided a loving and nurturing environment where the girls were encouraged to care for each other, to strive to excel, and to be the best they could be.  That is borne out by the successful lives these daughters have had in adulthood.

These are just a few of my many memories. I will dearly and fondly miss Marilyn especially at Christmas time when I remember one of my favorite traditions.

Rest in Peace, Marilyn. You will be missed by many.

Love, Linda

Cathy Phillips
Cathy Phillips
2 months ago

May God hold each of Marilyn’s family in his hands for comfort at this very difficult time. Peace and Prayers. Nick, Michelle and Denise and each of her granddaughters. With her Brother and Sister in Law.

Bonnie Laos
Bonnie Laos
2 months ago

My memories of Marilyn go back a long way to my very first moments as a baby, when Denise, Michelle, my sister (Bridget), and I would play together before we even walked, all the way until we grew up and moved out. When I was little I considered Marilyn a second mom. One thing I remember most was how kind she was by listening to my constant babbling. I loved her laugh that was unmistakable and she’d often laugh so hard she’d cry. I also feel so fortunate to have gotten to spend a recent trip with Marilyn at Disney with my girls and their family. It felt just like old times! I’m so sorry she has moved on to heaven because I know how greatly missed she will be. But, I hope you all feel comfort in knowing she is with all of those you love that have also moved on and someday we will all be reunited again.

Love always,
Bonnie Laos and family

Visitation Details

Venue:

Calumet Park Funeral Chapel

Date:

Friday, December 22, 2023

Time:

11:00 AM

-

12:00 PM

Note:

No additional visitation notes.

Service Details

Venue:

Calumet Park Funeral Chapel

Date:

Friday, December 22, 2023

Time:

12:00 PM

-

N/A

Officiator:

Pastor Mark Wilkins

Note:

No additional service notes.

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