Occasionally brash yet usually revered, Rizzo Sr. continues to appeal to South Philadelphians nearly 22 years after his death. The native of the 2300 block of South Rosewood Street sought to uphold order as the Philadelphia Police Department’s commissioner from 1967 to ’71 and furthered his civic adoration as the city’s 93rd mayor from ’72 to ’80.
The Girard Estate product, an alumnus of then-Edwin H. Vare School, 2100 S. 24th St., belonged to St. Monica Church for the first 17 years of his life and aided the site’s restoration following a ’71 fire. Once he became a political powerhouse, Rizzo called on his faith for guidance and looked to dish out his brand of tough love whenever necessary, thus becoming a polarizing official. Succumbing to a heart attack at age 70, Rizzo remains artistically apparent through a statue outside of Center City’s Municipal Services Building and a Bella Vista mural.
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The South Philadelphia Walk of Fame 2013 inductees