Pawtucket - With sadness for a loved one lost and gratitude for a life well lived, we share that Dr. Jeffery B. Rizzolo, Jr., DDS, 78, has died. Jeff passed away at home in Pawtucket, surrounded by family on September 22nd, after bravely living with cancer and the effects of cancer treatment for 21 months; he would have rather been skiing.
Jeff was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the only child of Dr. Jeffrey B. Rizzolo, Sr. and Emma V. (Jannarone) Rizzolo. He was raised in Pawtucket, where as a boy he played pond hockey and tennis in Slater Park. After graduating from Tolman High School, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Anselm College, to which he remained a dedicated and active alumnus. While at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Jeff not only earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery, but also had the good fortune of meeting his future wife, Gracelynn Julia Lange. The two were married on December 28, 1969. After completing dental school, Jeff enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in Vietnam. Following his honorable discharge from military service, Jeff started his dental practice alongside his father on Armistice Boulevard in Pawtucket. Jeff practiced skilled, kind, and compassionate dentistry for 34 years until his retirement in 2005. He regaled patients with stories of his family, of whom he was fiercely proud. Through his dental practice and community involvement, it seemed as though everyone knew Jeff, and if you didn’t, it would only take a five-minute conservation to feel like a long-time friend.
Jeff and Gracelynn celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family in 2019, just before the pandemic and Jeff’s cancer diagnosis. Together, Jeff and Gracelynn were partners in work – Gracelynn worked as a Dental Assistant and Dental Hygienist in Jeff’s dental office – and life, as they raised three children in the same neighborhood where Jeff had himself grown up. “Doc” was known in his neighborhood as a caring neighbor and meticulous gardener, nearly always outside working in his yard during the summer months and cursing the fallen leaves in the autumn. When not in the yard, he could be found on his porch watching baseball or Indy Car racing on television. Jeff was pleasantly surprised to see the Red Sox win not just one, but four World Series Championships during his lifetime.
Jeff was active in Boy Scout Troop 15 with his sons and sponsored several youth sports teams through his dental practice. For many years, he was a runner and completed a dozen marathons. Jeff also bicycled with the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen. Jeff was passionate about the outdoors, especially the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He completed climbing all 4,000 foot summits in the Whites in 1979 and frequented hiking and downhill skiing trails in the Whites all his adult life. He was an avid downhill skier and spent over 50 days each winter on the slopes during his retirement years; his favorite ski area was Attitash Mountain. The White Mountains were frequently the subject of his photography, a life-long hobby to which he dedicated much of his time during retirement (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/rizzolo/). Jeff was always generous with advice, be it on hiking, gardening, running, or photography.
In addition to his wife, Jeff was much loved by his son, David and daughter-in-law Michelle Phaneuf (Barrington, RI), daughter Allison (Austin, TX), and son Daniel and daughter-in-law Adrian Gall (Fairbanks, AK), as well as three grandchildren, Tate and Simone (Barrington, RI) and Gavin (Fairbanks, AK), many friends and relatives, and his loyal dog, Denali.
Friends and relatives are invited to visitation on Wednesday, September 29, 4-7 pm at Bellows Funeral Chapel, 160 River Road, Lincoln. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the family respectfully requests that face coverings be worn and anyone not fully vaccinated or feeling ill not attend. Funeral services and inurnment will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to either the Cancer Research Institute, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, or just go outside, enjoy a walk, and remember Jeff. For Directions and Guest Book, please visit www.bellowsfuneralchapel.com.