John Rappazzo was born May 11, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York and spent his childhood there until joining the Navy in 1943 answering the call of duty to participate in World War II. His Fletcher class destroyer was in numerous engagements including Iwo Jima and the recapture of the Philippines.
Following his honorable discharge in 1946 he was a lifeguard at Coney Island and attended and graduated from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, one of the leading engineering schools in the nation at the time.
He had a distinguished career as a civil/structural engineer and worked internationally in both Morocco and Mexico in the 50s and 60s, respectively. Coming to Longview in 1970, his industrial, commercial, and residential engineering projects and consultation work dot the landscape of the area. Among them are the Teague Park amphitheater, Papacita‘s, and the Austin Bank building on Highway 80.
He possessed a natural aptitude for languages having spoken Sicilian from birth and also becoming conversant in French and fluent in Spanish. He could not speak much English before the first grade but had shed even his Brooklyn accent by the end of high school.
A gifted storyteller with a subtlety dry wit, he could keep listeners spellbound with vividly descriptive tales of growing up in Brooklyn and his time at sea in the Pacific among other topics.
Although he was born and grew up in the North, he has spent the majority of his life in Texas. He once was given an elaborate certificate signed by then Governor John Connolly deeming him a naturalized Texas citizen.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law John and Darlene Rappazzo and grandchildren, Mikael, Seth, Anthony, and Annaliese.
A private service with military honors will be held. Interment will be in Dallas Ft. Worth National Cemetery.