Death of Education Advocate Leaves Gaping Hole in Flagler County

Joseph Rizzo, executive director of the Flagler County Education Foundation, died unexpectedly on March 6, 2022.
He was 47 years old.
Rizzo was the driving force behind a massive expansion of the foundation’s services for disadvantaged Flagler County students. In his five years at the helm of the foundation, Rizzo’s efforts more than tripled the foundation’s assets and doubled the number of students served, according to an announcement posted on the foundation’s website.
“Joe’s legacy has a far-reaching impact,” Trevor Tucker, current school board chairman, told “If there was an opportunity to support a program in Flagler Schools over the past two decades, Joe Rizzo had a hand in it. His work with Carla Cline in creating the Josh Crews Writing Project has given so many of our students a voice. Joe and the team he built within the Flagler County Education Foundation became a vital role in the success of our district.”
More than 1,000 Flagler County students have been published via the aforementioned writing project. The project was named for Josh Crews, an FPCH graduate who died at age 34 in November 2010 in a single-vehicle wreck. Crews, like so many others in Palm Coast, was a friend of Rizzo. Crews worked as a bartender in a restaurant owned by Rizzo and was well-known for his love of the English language, literature, and writing.
Rizzo was a Flagler County native, having graduated from Flagler-Palm Coast High School in 1994. He graduated from Mars Hill University near Asheville, North Carolina, at which he played football and met his wife, Teresa. Rizzo returned to the Palm Coast area in 1999. He became involved in several business ventures including Woody’s Bar-B-Q on SR-100 in Palm Coast, the Island Grille in Flagler Beach and the Bull Creek Fish Camp at Dead Lake. Rizzo’s passion for improving education was fueled by his appointment to the Flagler County Education Board of Directors from April 2005 through June 2010.
Rizzo was featured on the cover of the second edition of Palm Coast magazine in September 2021. The feature story regarding the work of the education foundation revealed the depth of Rizzo’s commitment to improving education in Flagler County. He clearly communicated the joy doing so brought to his life.
We at Palm Coast magazine are saddened to be writing a second obituary in the April 2022 edition. The subject of the first is Tom Gargiulo, the “father” of arts in Palm Coast. In a short period of time, the Palm Coast area has lost two prominent citizens whose absence is being felt as a big black hole in its social fabric.
Our sincere condolences to both families as we consider ourselves blessed to have interviewed both men. Rizzo is survived by his wife Teresa, two children son Joseph and daughter Caroline, and sister Krista.
In lieu of flowers, Rizzo’s family requests donations be made to the Flagler County Education Foundation to honor his passion for its mission.
— Amy Armstrong