May 7, 1924 – Jan. 9, 2013
Mary Rizzo Harmon, who worked as a “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II and went on to become a prolific artist, died Jan. 9 while under Hospice care in Buffalo General Medical Center. She was 88.
The former Mary Tedesco was born in Buffalo and attended Buffalo schools. During World War II, she worked on wing tips for Bell Aircraft.
A self-taught painter, Mrs. Harmon won numerous awards for her work in acrylics, watercolor and oils, and was a fixture in the Allentown Art Festival for 30 years. Her most recent work included monotype prints. Last year, her work was shown in “Artists Among Us” in the Burchfield Penney Art Center, which has her video autobiography in its archives.
At age 68, Mrs. Harmon earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, magna cum laude, from the University at Buffalo.
A member of the Buffalo Society of Artists and the Western New York Branch of National League of American Penwomen, Mrs. Harmon was listed in “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.”
An avid gardener, she was also known for her Italian cooking and her baking, especially of berry pies. Mrs. Harmon also knitted, crocheted and sewed clothing for her children and grandchildren.
Survivors include two sons, Jay Rizzo of West Seneca and Dr. Frank Rizzo of Elma; and a daughter, Rosemary Ratajczyk of Marilla. Her first husband, Alphonso Rizzo, died in 1982. Her second husband, Jesse J. Harmon, died in 1997.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, 1345 Indian Church Road, West Seneca. Prayers will be said at 9 in Hoy Funeral Home, 3855 Seneca St., West Seneca.