Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jimmy Rizzardi: The Illegitimate Grandfather - Pt. 3

Continued from part 2...

The rest of the Rizzardi story: a brief timeline 1922 - 2001

In 1922 Louise Rizzardi was living in Louisville. She sold soft drinks for a few years at 1600 W. Broadway and her boys clerked for her at times. Her husband was still residing in LaFollette.

1600 W. Broadway (May 2011)
In 1926, at the height of the roaring 20s, the LaFollette Coal, Iron and Rail Co. failed and operations ceased. James Rizzardi changed his profession from coal miner to furniture store merchant.

In 1927 Jimmy married his second wife, Mildred Roberta Longmire, daughter of George Emerson and Ida May Smith Longmire.

By 1930 Louise and James were divorced. Louise, still in Louisville, took in boarders at 534 Jefferson St. under her maiden name Hallet. At the same time, her son Jimmy, now a salesman for a sporting goods company, and his wife Roberta were living next door.  A year later Jimmy was listed in the city directory as a salesman for George Rizzardi Realty at 530 W. Jefferson, which was also his residence. It appears he was no longer living with his wife.

Louise remarried sometime after 1930. Her second husband's name was J. O. Adams.

In 1931 Jimmy married Maybird Elwina Hoover in Bradley Co., Tennessee. Maybird was the daughter of  John Wesley and Henrietta E. Settlemyre Hoover. It was the first of his three marriages to Maybird.

On August 30, 1931 Jimmy's father died at the Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. James "Giacomo" Rizzardi's body was interred the same day as his death at the St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Williamsburg, Whitley Co., Kentucky, just a stone's throw over the state line from Jellico, Tennessee.

In 1934 Jimmy married Maybird a second time, this time in Jeffersonville, Clark Co., Indiana.

Sometime between 1935 and 1936 Florence took her 13 year old daughter, Florence Edna, to the Court House Grill & Bar in Louisville where together they confronted Jimmy, who was then the proprietor of that bar. I don't know the details concerning the confrontation, but Jimmy likely denied paternity.

In October 1936 Jimmy again married Maybird in Clark Co., Indiana, the third and final time.

In the 1937 Louisville city directory, Roberta is listed as Jimmy's wife. Their residence was 2621 Whittier Ave.  Did Jimmy marry Roberta again after his third marriage to Maybird just a few months earlier? Was he married to two women at the same time, one in Indiana, the other in Kentucky? Or was the directory using years old information? Nothing would surprise me.

Louisville during the great flood of 1937
In the early part of 1937, due to weeks and weeks of persistent rain, the Ohio river flooded it's banks in a big way. By March, seventy percent of Louisville was under water and 175,000 residents had to be evacuated. Many rescues were made by small boat. Jimmy was the proprietor of the Court House Grill and Bar in Louisville and his brother Louis owned a restaurant there. Louis and his family were among those who had to be rescued from the flood.

In December of 1937 Jimmy married Emma Belle O'Hara, daughter of Milton Cartwright "Mack" and Aurora Belle Howe O'Hara. Though records would indicate that Jimmy and Emma divorced before 1942, Emma's last name would remain Rizzardi until she died 40 years later. 

Louise Hallet Rizzardi-Adams died at St. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in March of 1938 after losing a week long battle with influenza. Jimmy was the informant listed on his mother's death certificate. Louise's body was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Louisville.

In the 1940 census Jimmy was listed as married and living in Bristol City, Washington Co., Virginia. No wife was listed with him but he had a male boarder and was the proprietor of a beauty shop and owned his own residence. The same year his only known legitimate daughter Marguerite, married Angelo Paul Triasco in Summit Co., Ohio. She was previously married to a man who's surname was Dally. Her mother, Lois Seivers Rizzardi, married a Yugoslavian widower named George Simon and was also living in Summit Co., Ohio.

In 1942 Louis Rizzardi, Jr. and his uncle Jimmy, now divorced and claiming no dependants, enlisted in the United States Army in Oglethorp Georgia. Their residences were listed as Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee. Jimmy stated he had a 1 year high school education, and his occupation was Hotel & Restaurant Manager. He was 5'8" and weighed 196 lbs.

Jimmy resided in Nashville until he died in March of 1974. His wife at the time of his death was Nancy Elizabeth Cobb Rizzardi. Jimmy's body was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Louisville. His brother Louis Sr. died in August the same year and his nephew Louis Jr. died the following year in June.

Jimmy and Lois's daughter, Marguerite, was last married to a man who's surname was Lane. Marguerite died in California in 1986. She had at least one child, a daughter.

Jimmy and Florence's daughter, Florence Edna, mother of my husband and his four siblings, died in 2001 without ever knowing her real paternal grandparents, James and Louisa, and of course she never knew she had an older half-sister, Marguerite. I certainly hope Florence Edna is not squirming in her grave over this public disclosure of the circumstances of her birth. In my opinion, and probably in the opinion of all who knew her mother, it was Jimmy Rizzardi who was the illegitimate one, not his daughter!

I am not able to include but a small percentage of information from the timeline I created because of the sheer length of it. The full timeline includes details of Jimmy's siblings and their families and his ex-wives and their families. I will be more than happy to supply more information and the sources for that information upon request.

As always, I am grateful for any additional facts or corrections that need to be made.



  1. Lisa, this is an excellent and judicious overview of the impact the wayward one had on so many lives. It must have been a hard-won process to create it. I can image a lot of thought time, gritted teeth, and if I were in your place there would be grrrrrrrs galore. Thank you for writing it so very well, and for posting your findings.

  2. Thanks Lisa, for a wonderful post. I especially liked how you put in some historical facts, like the flood of '37. I can't get over how young Florence looked, while holding her baby. You sure did a lot of research to put this together, good work!