James L. Costanzi, a Ridgefield native who had been an RHS sports star and active in the community for many years, died on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at River Glen Health Care, Southbury. He was 85 years old.
Mr. Costanzi was born in Ridgefield, May 2, 1927, son of the late Varisto P. and Amalia (Sorcinelli) Costanzi. He attended Ridgefield schools and graduated in 1945 from Ridgefield High School, where he was class president, and captain of the football and baseball teams.
He served in the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II.
Mr. Costanzi, who had lived on Colonial Lane, was a retired insurance agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He had been a member of the Advisory Board of former Village Bank and Trust Company of Ridgefield.
A former president of the Lions Club, Mr. Costanzi was instrumental in setting up the program that later developed into Meals on Wheels. He was also responsible for initiating a Lions scholarship that provided four RHS students with grants totaling $8,000 each over their four years.
An avid golfer, Mr. Costanzi was a member of Ridgewood Country Club of Danbury and had once played with noted South African pro, Gary Player. He also belonged to the Italian American Mutual Aid Society and St. Mary Parish of Ridgefield.
He was honored by the Ridgefield Old Timers in 2001.
As a boy, Mr. Costanzi was one of the first members of the Ridgefield Boys Club, and vividly remembered signing up for membership. “I was the eighth member to join the club and that wasn’t easy,” he said in a 2001 interview. “We had to line up to register and the big guys kept throwing me out of line. I fought back and maintained my place, but do you have any idea how many ‘noggers’ I got that day from the older guys?”
There are no immediate survivors.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 at 10:15 a.m. in St. Mary Church, Ridgefield.
Burial will follow in the family plot in St. Mary Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield is in charge of arrangements.