Obituaries for the week of Oct. 31, 2019

Published on: October 31, 2019

Lawrence Brigant

Lawrence Brigant, of Sun City Center, passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

Larry was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 16, 1935, to Mildred and Frank Brigant. He is survived by the love of his life, Ruth, his wife of 63 years, and by his daughters Ginger Waldstein and Lori Palmer, his son-in-law Eric Waldstein, and his beloved grandchildren Steven and Michelle Waldstein and Kelly and Daniel Palmer.

As a young man Larry was a drummer, an artist and a dancer. He served as a Boy Scout leader for many years in both the U.S. and the U.K., and was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He worked for IBM for 25 years in New York City, Jacksonville, FL, and Atlanta, GA. Following retirement he resided in Sun City Center, where he drove the Activities Buses at SCC and Freedom Plaza, and volunteered by sharing his photography skills with the SCC Area Chamber of Commerce.

For all of his many accomplishments, he was proudest of his children and grandchildren, and was devoted to his loving wife Ruth.

A private burial service with Military honors was held at the Sarasota National Cemetery, followed by a gathering of Larry’s family and friends to celebrate his life.


James M. Griffin Jr.

James M. Griffin, Jr., 93 years old, died peacefully at his Apollo Beach home Oct. 24, 2019. James was born in Springfield, MA, to James M. Griffin Sr. and Ethel Bassette. James served our great nation as a Marine Corporal, active combat from March 1942 to August 1946 as a sharpshooter and military intelligence in Japan. When World War II ended, James was decorated with four medals. He shipped back to the states from Japan and married Victoria C. Griffin, whom he met at 16 years old. They remained married 65 years until Victoria’s passing seven years ago.

James attended evening classes at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, NJ, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology. By day, he worked for Bell Telephone, Newark, NJ, as a linesman and then in New York City. James also worked at AT&T, Basking Ridge, NJ as a rates and tariff supervisor, retiring in 1983 after 35 years of service.

After selling his Tewksbury, NJ, home, James spent half the year in Pennsylvania where he enjoyed retirement, hunting, fishing, volunteering at church functions and traveling the world with Victoria. The other half of the year, he lived in Apollo Beach.

James is survived by his 91-year-old brother Marine Corporal Robert F. Griffin, Sarasota, FL. James is also survived by his two loving children Robert P. Griffin, Valencia, CA, and Janet Ciardi, Denville, NJ. James will have a military burial and be laid to rest at Sarasota National Cemetery in late November. Arrangements by Zipperer’s Funeral Home.


Sue Ellen Lee

Sue Ellen Lee, 80, of Sun City Center, FL, died October 20, 2019. Sue was born on August 4, 1939, in Lapeer, MI, to Marjorie E. (Docham) and Hugh C. Newton. She attended the Lapeer Community schools. Upon graduation, she attended the University of Michigan School of Nursing and graduated with her BSN. She earned her MSN from Wayne State University.

She married Robert R. Lee on August 11, 1962.

She worked as an RN at Lapeer County General Hospital and at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. She taught nursing at Mercy College of Detroit and at the University of Michigan in Flint, MI. Later she worked as a nursing supervisor and the Nurse Administrator at the Lapeer County Health Department.

Sue was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lapeer. After retiring to Sun City Center, FL, she became a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon where she was an active member or the Stephen Ministry Program.

She is survived by her husband Robert, daughter Denise, son Jeffrey and his wife Donna, and granddaughter Amy Lee.


Stephen L. Rizzotti

Stephen L. Rizzotti, 74, of Sun City Center, FL, passed away on October 12, 2019, after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Salem, MA to his mother Etta Snell of Haynesville, ME, who raised him along with his stepfather, Louis Snell, and his grandmother Maggiebelle McLaughlin, also of Haynesville.

He graduated in 1963 from Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, CT, where he played second base on the high school baseball team and was described by classmates as having “nerves of steel.” He then served as a Specialist in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1970, spending three years stationed in Korea with the 8th Army. After leaving the Army, he worked as a cabinetmaker, a real estate agent and then spent the bulk of his career as a car salesman. He flourished as a salesman at Williams Ford in West Hartford, CT, where he loved his clients and colleagues and earned many accolades.

Steve was a friend to all —kind, funny, a great listener and always ready to disperse wisdoms to those in need. He was a good neighbor and loyal friend, an incredible father to his step-daughters Carly and Lauren, always there to listen and provide support full of humor and free of judgment, and he was a hero to his younger brothers, Jim and Fred.

Liked by all who met him, he found friends everywhere he went. In Haynesville, ME, where he lived as a young child and returned to live for a few years later in his adult life, he spent a great deal of time at Houlton Community Golf Club and Grammy’s Country Inn, golfing, socializing and sharing funny stories. In West Hartford, CT, he could be found either at Starbucks in West Hartford Center “shooting the breeze” as he liked to say or at Rockledge Golf Club where friends marveled at his ability to roll a cigarette in the wind, take a sip of coffee, and then hit the ball straight down the fairway with ease. He was also known to play 36 holes in one day regardless of weather conditions.

He spent the last decade of his life in the community of Sun City Center, FL, where he could often be found at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview. Garnering nicknames everywhere he went, he was best known at Summerfield as “Range Rat Steve” and “Starbucks Steve,” as he spent countless hours at the range and always had a coffee in hand.

He loved Johnny Cash, John Wayne movies, a good cabernet, strumming his guitar, making new French dishes from his Jaques Pépin cookbooks and spending time with his friends and family.

He was good natured, positive, witty, and a thoroughly good person, and his presence made the world a better place. A true original, he made a lasting impression on everyone he met and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by his two brothers James Snell of Cranston, RI, and Fred Snell of Haynesville, ME; his step-daughters and son-in-law, Carly Anderson and Joseph Young of Astoria, NY, and Lauren Anderson of Meriden, CT; countless cousins and friends, and his dear friend and former partner Elaine Anderson of Little River, SC. He was predeceased by his mother Etta, stepfather Louis, beloved Aunt Betty, a number of aunts and uncles, and his dearest beagle Jessie who he fell in love with while transporting her from Maine to New Hampshire for a friend before deciding to keep her.

His memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m., at Sun City Center Funeral Home located at 185 Rickenbacker Dr., Sun City Center, FL. Visitation will take place immediately before at 1 p.m. and a reception with food and drinks will be held directly after the service. His burial will take place on Monday, Nov. 4, at 1:30 p.m., at Sarasota National Cemetery where he will receive military honors. A separate service will be held in the spring in Haynesville, ME.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Beagle Freedom Project (


Betty Lue Zielke

Mrs. Betty Lue Zielke, age 81, of Blue Ridge, GA, passed away on Oct. 22, 2019, in Blue Ridge, GA. She was born in Ivy, SC, on Nov. 4, 1937 to the late George Emory and Christine Worley Turpin. Betty was an engaging woman with an outgoing personality. She was a loving wife, mother and homemaker. She had the opportunity to travel with her husband all over the world, making lifelong friends in France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. Betty will be missed by so many.

Also preceding her in death were three siblings: Junior Turpin, Ruth Moss and Jean Schmidt.

Survivors include her husband of 62 years Frank Zielke; two sons, Steven Guy Zielke and Keith Edward Zielke and wife Donna; one brother Ben Turpin; and two grandchildren, Evan Edward Zielke and Julia A. Zielke.

Funeral services will be conducted on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at 2 p.m. from the Akins Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. from the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, from 5 to 9 p.m. Condolences may be sent to the family online at