Henry Ricci

Obituary of Henry R Ricci

Enrico "Henry" Ricci, 88, of Glassboro passed away on Tuesday, March 7. Henry was surrounded by family and his wonderful care team at Summit Place. Although he lived in many places throughout his life, he always considered Vineland his home. Henry was a true renaissance man and a natural born leader. In his early 20's he served as Captain of the Lifeguards for the State of New Jersey at Parvin State Park. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music and was well-known for his beautiful baritone voice. He performed everything from church music to opera, on stages small and large. Henry taught voice lessons to a host of performers and was known widely as the director of the Singing Ambassadors of Vineland. Throughout his life Henry had a great love for animals. He and his wife Gerry built a beautiful horse farm in Rosenhayn, New Jersey where they raised their family and bred thoroughbred and Lipizzaner horses. Henry became an accomplished equestrian. Henry and his beloved brother Al started a day camp in the mid -1970's. For 8 years, hundreds of kids from the region spent summers of fun at Ricci's Happy Acres Summer Camp. Camp was as much fun for Henry as it was for the campers. Henry's love of animals then led him to become the curator of the Cohanzick Zoo. He was responsible for the zoo's expansion from a small petting zoo to a premier municipal zoo featuring primates and large cats. Henry was known for his ability to "tame the wild animals". It was not unusual to find a lion or leopard roaming about in Henry's home or riding shotgun in one of Henry's exotic sports cars. Henry was elected to a position as county freeholder and held that position for 3 terms. He stayed active in politics for many years, always advocating for the elderly, people of color and the oppressed. Henry and his second wife Rosemary moved to Las Vegas in 1990. He held executive positions at the Sahara and the Venetian Hotels and worked closely with Debbie Reynolds to launch the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel and Casino. He was always thrilled to welcome friends from Bridgeton and Vineland to Las Vegas. Henry then retired, but quickly realized that retirement was not for him. His love of animals led him to the famous Arabian horse farm of Wayne Newton which he ran for several years before returning home to South Jersey. Henry would be the first to tell you that he had the most wonderful life that he enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a great story-teller and loved being with people. He always treated people with kindness, and he was incredibly generous to those less fortunate. He loved every facet of his life. He was as happy with his flamboyant life in Las Vegas as he was fishing with his son at Parvin State Park. Every day was an adventure. He is survived by his loving children Denise Mariotti (Peter) and Henry Michael (Debbie) and his beloved grandchildren, Gabrielle, Francesca, Allison and Michael. Henry is predeceased by his parents Angelina (Serra) and Albert Ricci; his siblings Anita (Meale), Rosemarie and Albert; and his wife Geraldine (Errera). At the families request in lieu of flowers that donations in his memory be made to: The Cohanzick Zoological Society, C/O City Hall Annex, 181 East Commerce Street, Bridgeton, NJ 08302 Services for Henry will be private. ARRANGEMENTS are under the supervision of Rone Funeral Service, 1110 East Chestnut Avenue, Vineland, NJ 08360 To send online condolences please visit our website at www.RONEFUNERALSERVICE.com
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