When people think of Candy Rizzio, they likely think of someone with great taste, who loves to shop, and whose thoughtfulness is never-ending.
To her kids, Becky and Ryan, along with their dad Jan, she has always been their main supporter. They know they can always rely on their mom to be there for them when they need her most, and Candy is indeed a cherished role model.
“I wish I could be more like her,” Becky said. “She’s always been extremely selfless. My mom’s always thinking about others and putting others first. She’s got a great sense of humor. She’s also very grounded and very practical. She raised me with good values and integrity and taught me not to take everything so seriously. She would say, ‘lighten up, Beck.’ And I think I have thanks to her.”
It is no wonder why Candy’s family speaks so highly of her. She provides a solid foundation. She’s smart – she’s always the first one to get the puzzle right on Wheel of Fortune and often one of the first ones drafted for family trivia nights.
She’s also super generous. Whenever she is out shopping at Home Goods or Kohl’s, she often comes home with a bag of goodies for others.
Candy is someone who does not take friendships for granted either. If you become friends with her, you have a friend for life.
“Candy taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with good people. From when I was very little, she’d take me to lunch with her friends. And, she has kept those friends throughout the years,” Becky said. “A lot of people love her. She has tremendous loyalty and dedication to her friends. She is still friends with the same people she went to grade school and high school with. They share a lot of laughs and often go on trips together. I don’t think you can find a better friend than Candy.”
From the days of Ryan and Becky growing up until now, their mother is a person they can always count on. They could not imagine having been raised by a better mother than Candy. She and their dad made them a priority, never missing a game or a performance and always sitting down for dinner together.
“For me, she is one of the most reliable people you can call on,” Ryan said. “She will do almost anything for anyone at any time. It’s pretty easy to get her help or support.”
If you need anything at all, you know that you can count on Candy. That’s what makes her such a great friend as well as such a great mother and grandmother.
“She’s really fun with her grandkids,” Becky said. “She wants them to have good experiences all the time, no matter what they are. She is focused with them and patient with them. It’s about having fun in the moment with them. My mom is more about creating the memories and experiences and being in the now; worry about the mess later.”
Her grandkids speak of many fond memories they already have made with Grandma Candy. Their times just hanging out with one another at Grandma Candy and Grandpa Jan’s house are times they treasure.
“She’s kind and thoughtful and we really have a good time baking together,” Candy’s granddaughter Addison said.
“I like it when we build Legos together and read books together,” Candy’s grandson Bryce added. “We do lots of stuff together.”
If there is one thing Candy cherishes more than anything else, it is time with family. And, like she never missed a game or performance of Becky’s and Ryan’s, she is always in the stands supporting Addison’s cheer team and rooting for Bryce at his hockey games.
“I have always learned how important family is and to remember where you came from,” Ryan said. “Whether it’s relatives or close family friends, we try to reciprocate when they do nice things for us. There is nothing more important than family, that’s one big life lesson from my mom.”
Candy led by example. She didn’t have to say what her family meant to her because she showed everybody in all the things that she did for them. From constantly sewing buttons back on Becky’s coat to picking up a golf shirt for Ryan – all without ever being asked.
Christmas is always full of gifts and everybody’s favorite cookies. Candy spends at least two weeks baking and several months shopping. No matter how old her kids get, there are always presents under the tree.
She has also always shown what it means to take an altruistic approach to life while also being straightforward with her kids. She has always been a mother who wants what is best for her kids, and the way they turned out is largely because of her.
“She was never judgmental when we were growing up,” Ryan said. “For me, she was always supportive. I would get her honest feedback, and it was done in a positive way. She never yelled and was never demeaning. She shared the positives and the negatives, not just what you wanted to hear. You really take it for granted growing up that you have someone who is always there.”
Candy is also very active. She does water aerobics every morning; she’ll sometimes get out for an afternoon walk with Jan as well. She’s whip smart, scoring high on Wordle, Candy Crush and winning most family card games.
Her famous chocolate chip banana bread is a fan favorite, and you can find her playing not only with her grandkids, but with her brother’s and sister’s grandkids, too. And, most of those kids have a nice blanket or sweater knitted by Auntie Candy as she has great creativity.
Everybody is always welcome at Candy and Jan’s. They often cook great dinners and host holidays for the entire extended family.
“My favorite memories are when I help her make dinner,” Addison said. “We also make crazy cake afterward.”
“Sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house are the best,” Bryce said. “I spend a lot of time over there and have a lot of fun with them. We also go to the beach together.”
Candy brings so much joy and laughter to her grandkids, and she is someone that people love being around.
The world is a better place because of Candy being in it, and people appreciate her truly.
“She and her sister Cheryl make a really good team,” Ryan said. “I also hold close how much time she spent with both my grandmas before they passed away. She spent more hours than anybody taking care of her mom and her mother-in-law. She wouldn’t admit spending more time than anyone else in the family.”
That’s just the type of person Candy is, and she deserves to be celebrated for all she does for others.
Happy birthday, Candy! Keep being you!