Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at Ray Funeral Home and a second visitation will be held from 1-2 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013, at Cleveland First United Methodist Church.
Celebration of Life services will follow beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013, at Cleveland First United Methodist Church with Rev. Barry Dickerson and Rev. Billy Owen officiating. Interment will follow in New Cleveland Cemetery.
She was born on April 30, 1917, in the Republic of Panama, where her father was an engineer employed on the Panama Canal. When she was about 6-years-old the family moved back to the states, and she was reared in the city of Forest.
She was a 1935 graduate of Forest High School and obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1939 at Mississippi State College for Women. She then continued to further her education by obtaining a master’s degree in 1941 in biology from Mississippi State University.
Before marriage, she worked for five years teaching at different Junior Colleges.
On May 28, 1946, she married William Hardy Bizzell in Crystal Springs. After marriage she taught part-time at Ole Miss and one year at Delta State.
Until her recent illnesses prevented, Rita kept a beautiful yard and garden, doing most of the work herself. She loved her plants, flowers, birds and all the animals around her home. She was a member of First United Methodist Church for more than 60 years. She was active in the work of the Church, teaching studies for Women’s Circles, and from time to time working on kitchen, flower, or yard beautification committees.
Rita was a member of Cleveland Junior Auxiliary, working with needy children in the community.
She was a strong family person, loved by uncles and aunts from both parent’s families, and returning that love to nieces and nephews coming after her. She will be sorely missed by her family, her church, and her many friends.
Mrs. Bizzell is survived by her husband of 66 years, William H. Bizzell of Cleveland; sister, Jeanne Brignac Burroughs of Tucson, Ariz.; three nieces, Rita Brignac Jones and Annette Brignac Veazey, both of Forest and Joanne Burroughs Zabaldo of Tampa, Fla.; two nephews, Dr. Richard Burroughs of Baton Rouge, La., and Robert Burroughs of Tuscon, Ariz.; cousins, Lee and Rose Bizzell of Pace and their daughter, Rita Bizzell Hewell of Apex, N.C.; a foster daughter, Joyce King Chamblee of Belle Glade, Fla.; and a group of sitters who loved and cared for Rita during the past two years and became like family.
Pallbearers will be Joseph Crews, John Henry, Homer Sledge III, Nott Wheeler Jr., Jerry Ainsworth, Graham Cassibry, Ben Bailey and Jack Fletcher.
In memory of Mrs. Bizzell, memorials can be made to First United Methodist Church P.O. Box 130 Cleveland, MS 38732 and/or MUW 1100 College St. Columbus, MS 39701 or to any charitable cause selected by the donor.
To view and sign online guestbook, go to www.rayfuneralhome.net