Lansing, NY

Jerome P. Rizzo (Jerry), age 52 of Lansing, passed away peacefully on April 11, 2017 after a heroic battle with brain cancer.

Jerry is survived by his parents George and Janice; his beloved wife of 25 years, Henriette; their daughters, Emily and Julianna; his siblings, Julie Rizzo-Regenauer (Michael) of Massachusetts, Robyn Rizzo of Massachusetts, Christopher Rizzo (Karen) of New Jersey; as well as a large extended family.

Jerry received a B.A. in Economics from Williams College, an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA, with Distinction, from Cornell. He was the inaugural Executive Director of the Leadership Programs at Cornell’s business school until 2016. He was also a Senior Lecturer of Leadership. Prior to this, Jerry served as the Executive Officer of Cornell’s Naval ROTC unit.

In 1991, Jerry began his 21 year highly distinguished career in the United States Marine Corps.  He attended the TOPGUN and Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor Courses, receiving every possible F/A-18 flight leadership designation. Later, he was selected as one of four Marines Corps F/A-18 aviators to serve as a TOPGUN Instructor. His military service included volunteering as a Forward Air Controller in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, deployment in the peace enforcement operations in Kosovo, and participation in Operation Strengthen Hope, the 2006 evacuation of American and Allied citizens from Lebanon. Jerry's awards include the Daughters of the American Colonists Honor Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat V and Achievement Medals, NATO Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal, and Kosovo Campaign Medal along with a Presidential Unit Citation.

Jerry was a passionate and talented football coach. His career began at the Delbarton School in New Jersey and included coaching at Williams College, University of California at Berkeley, Ithaca College and Cornell. In 2002, Jerry was assigned to the United States Naval Academy as a physical education instructor and varsity Sprint football coach. He received the Naval Academy’s 2002 Varsity Coach of the Year award.

Jerry was extraordinary and undeniably accomplished.  His devotion and unconditional love for his family and friends will be remembered forever. He was an amazing husband and father to his two lovely daughters, whom he greatly adored. He remained a humble man and was always quick to mentor and help others reach their full potential. Jerry had the gift of touching the lives of anyone fortunate enough to know him.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed toward college educational plans which have been established for Jerry’s daughters, Julianna at and Emily at

Calling hours will be from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, Tuesday, April 18th, at Lansing Funeral Home, 32 Auburn Rd., Lansing, NY.  A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 am, Wednesday, April 19th, at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 302 St. Catherine’s Circle, Ithaca, NY. Burial, with full military honors, at Arlington National Cemetery will occur at a later date.