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  • "Rizz was a great friend of the Wm. H. Clark family - and a..."
    - Jennifer Clark
  • "I'm so glad to have known Rizz, but until reading her obit,..."
    - Gail Gullotti
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    - Jan B.
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Service Information
Old First Presbyterian
125 Main St
Huntington, NY 11743
Memorial service
Friday, Aug. 5, 2016
2:00 PM
Old First Presbyterian Church
125 Main Street
Huntington, NY
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DEAN--Rosamond Roberts

Arthur. Rizz Dean, a 65-year resident of Long Island, NY, the mother of six children, attentive grandmother of 15, matriarch of a larger family, lifelong housing activist, reader, athlete, hostess, gardener, Presbyterian and avid follower of current events up until her very last days, died peacefully at home on July 15 at age 93. Rizz will be greatly missed by all, especially her kids -- John, Stuart, Richard, Douglas, James and Lee, their spouses, and the grandchildren for whom not birthday was missed and no opportunity for a visit bypassed. Rizz also had a wide circle of friends and, even as some moved away or preceded her in death, she made new friends, entertaining many in her home. At a New Year's party in New York City in 1946, Rizz met Donald Arthur, Jr., a CPA and a decorated Naval veteran of both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, who had just returned with his ship from the Pacific to port in Florida and taken the train to New York. They were married later that year, a union that lasted until Don's death in 1981. Ten years later she married an old friend, Tucker Dean. He died in 1999. Rizz established close bonds with Tucker's four adult children and several of his grandchildren. The daughter of the late George and Grace Lee Roberts and the sister of Constance Roberts Hoguet, Rizz attended The Brearley School and Smith College. She soon went to work in housing, helping relocate tenants, many of whom were low income, to make way for the newly planned community of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in lower Manhattan. Construction of the complex resulted in the forced eviction of about 11,000 people. The New York Times called the move from the site "the greatest and most significant mass movement of families in New York's history." After her marriage and move to Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, Rizz became active in multiple community organizations. She began work with North Suffolk Planned Parenthood in 1952. Later, she was board chair, a clinic volunteer, fundraiser, a local council member, public affairs advocate and co-chair of the group's Legacy Society. She was a founding member of the Suffolk County Abortion Rights and the New York State Citizens for Family Planning Political Action Committee. In the late 1980s, an ecumenical and political effort was launched in Huntington, NY, to provide housing for a growing homeless population. As an active member of Old First Presbyterian Church of Huntington, Rizz was a co-founder of the Huntington Coalition for the Homeless, serving as its president for many years. The coalition opened Haven House, described as the first shelter in Suffolk County to be funded by state, county and town governments. The coalition also operated transitional apartments for victims of domestic violence. In addition, Rizz worked with the Long Island chapter of Save the Children. She served on the boards of Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and the Quebec Labrador Foundation of Ipswich, MA. She was a board member of Union Theological Seminary in New York and on its Metropolitan Committee. She was a board member of the Long Island Biological Association, supporting the work of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She was active in many other organizations, including the Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club and East Woods School in Oyster Bay, NY, where one child or another was enrolled continuously for more than 20 years. She was a longtime member of the Cosmopolitan Club in New York. As a young woman, Rizz spent summers with her family in East Hampton. She rode horses and competed in equestrian events. She also played tennis and golf and skied all her life. When she finally gave up cross country skiing in her eighties, she continued to walk daily and work out on a treadmill in her home. At age 92 she was taking T'ai Chi classes. A memorial service will be held at Old First Presbyterian Church, 125 Main Street, in Huntington, NY, at 2pm on Friday, August 5. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, 4 Skyline Drive, Hawthorne, NY 10532.

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 1, 2016
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