Above all else, Joe devoted his life to his faith and his family. Born with the heart of a servant, he dutifully rose early for years to attend daily Mass and serve as an altar boy at St. Aloysius Church. This devotion to the Church continued during his service in the Army, stationed in Germany in the mid 1950’s, when he volunteered to be the chaplain’s altar server for Sunday Mass. Joe’s faith-based service continued throughout his life, in charitable work and activities for Holy Rosary Church, Holy Family School in Hillcrest Heights, Villa Rosa Rest Home in Mitchellville, Knights of Columbus, and Catholic War Veterans.
Joe was married for 65 years to Rose, the love of his life. It was a true immigrant love story – Rose’s dad (Joe Lico) was a family friend and boarder of the Ruzzi family in DC, in the years leading up to, and during WWII. In 1947, he could finally afford to unite his family and bring to the US from southern Italy his wife and Rose, his teenage daughter. As a result of the family friendship, fourteen-year-old Joe, was the very first boy that fourteen-year-old Rose, met when she and her mother arrived in DC from Calabria. Born two days apart but thousands of miles away from each other, they were destined to be together.
Joe and Rose raised their four children in Hillcrest Heights. As a pipefitter for the Department of the Navy and doing plumbing side jobs for neighbors, Joe worked hard to put his kids through Catholic schools and college. Although quiet and extremely humble by nature, he was happy to share his pride in his children’s accomplishments, along with those of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His love and commitment to his family never wavered, and his greatest joy was being surrounded by family to enjoy a special meal or a bushel of steamed crabs for a birthday or anniversary.
Joe and Rose moved from Bowie to Brightview Riverwalk in Crofton in 2021. The Brightview community welcomed the loving couple with open arms, and Joe immediately embraced the multitude of social activities, like games of Bocce, movies, exercise classes, and a glass of wine enjoyed with his many friends at Brightview’s daily Happy Hour. His great love for his family and friends, along with his easy smile, good nature, and the twinkle in his eye, will live forever in the hearts of all who loved him.
Joseph M. Ruzzi, Sr. entered eternal life on January 6, 2023. He is survived by his loving wife, Rose, and his children, Joseph Jr., Louis (Cathie), Mary (Al) Montgomery, and Laura (Jeff) Cooper. He was also a proud grandfather to Melissa (Clay), Kristin (Cole), Joseph (Christine), Michael, Thomas, Laura, Rosie (Harry), Sara, Ellie, John, Jeffrey, and great-grandfather to Charlie and Alex. Relatives and friends may visit with the family on Wednesday, January 11 from 2 to 4pm and 6 to 8pm at Beall Funeral Home, 6512 Crain Highway, Bowie, Maryland 20715. Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, January 12 at 10:00 am at Holy Rosary Church, 595 3rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Betsy Brown Ruzzi Education Fund of the Community Fund of Anne Arundel County, which is dedicated to education research in memory of Joe’s much-loved daughter-in-law, the late Betsy Brown Ruzzi. Information about the Fund may be found at: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088147282060. Donations to the BBR Fund may be made directly via this link: https://cfaac.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=2940