Stephen “Brody’’ Rianna, Sr., 69, of Johnston and formerly of Providence, Passed away on May 15, 2020. He was the son of the late Stephen D. Rianna, Jr. and Marie C. (Persechino) Rianna.
Mr. Rianna was a 1968 graduate of Mt Pleasant High School. Also, in 1968 he enlisted in the USAR, 76 Division, taking his basic infantry training at, Fort Bragg, NC, he earned the rank of Staff Sgt and later completed the Drill Instructor Academy at Fort Polk, LA. Stephen attended the New England Institute of Technology where he studied Structural Steel Detailing. He also earned a B.A. Degree from Rhode Island in Industrial Technology and Architectural Design.
Mr. Rianna was an accomplished musician beginning his music studies at the age of 5 years old with the late Tulio Gasperini and the late, Jack Menna, Sr. At the age of 12 years old he was asked, by the DiPippo School of Music to compete in “The American Accordionist Association Competition” in New York City where he placed 2nd in the 15 year old division playing an Angelo DiPippo arrangement of, Zez Confrey’s, “Dizzy Fingers”. That same year, Stephen was invited to a private jam session, at the request of, Angelo DiPippo, dubbed “ The World’s Greatest Accordionist”. Stephen also taught accordion for “The Al Trombetti School of Music for 3 years. He later performed, professionally, with late greats, Art Pelosi, Al Decubellis, Sal Palumbo, and jazz accordionist Art VanDamme. Stephen also organized and performed with his own bands,” The Steve Brody Trio”, “The Music Connection”, and later, “Steve Brody’s Music Connection”.
Stephen coached baseball for The Mount Pleasant Little League Association for 4 years. He was a life-long fan of the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, having attended games at both the old and the new Yankees Stadiums.
In 1987, Stephen founded, produced, and directed his own non-profit organization called, “Children For Children”, providing funds and awareness to, children with AIDS (The F.A.C.T.S. House ), Juvenile Diabetes, and Cardiac Issues for 15 years. He also taught Art for 2 years at, The Saint Mary’s School for Children. He was also the Education Coordinator for The Marathon House On Wallum Lake, a co-dependent facility for juvenile boys for 7 years.
For, 17 years Mr Rianna was the Cubmaster of, St. Augustine’s Cub Scout Pack 76 and a Committee Member and Merit Badge Councilor for, St, Augustine’s Boy Scout Troop 76 for an additional 3 years. He also designed the Commemorative Logo for Troop 76’s, 50thAnniversary. For his dedication and hard work with the scouting organization, he was presented with, “the Bronze Pelican Award”, “The Diocesian St. George Emblem”, “The George Bucklin Award”, and “The District Award of Merit”. In 1987, The Mt. Pleasant/Elmhurst tri-Centennial Committee selected Stephen to receive the, “One of The Most Outstanding Citizens In The City of Providence Award”, for the dedication and leadership, he, as a volunteer, provided to the youth of City of Providence. Mr. Rianna also served as a, 4th Degree Grand Knight and District Deputy for both the St. Augustine Council and the St. Thomas The Apostle Council of The Knights of Columbus.
Stephen always enjoyed telling stories about his Chocolate Lab, Buster and the true example of, unconditional love he gave the entire family.
He is survived by his wife, of 47 years, Nell M. (Millozzi) Rianna, a son, Stephen B. Rianna, Jr. and wife Jennifer, a daughter, Jamie L. Santagata and husband Robert, a sister, Sherry A. Notarangelo and husband Michael, a brother, Gary J. Rianna and wife MaryAnn of Johnston, RI, a niece, Chelsea Sperandio and husband Stephen and a nephew, Zachary J. Rianna of Johnston, RI. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Nicholas and Mia Rianna and Isabella and Alex Santagata.
Stephen also leaves those who provided him with the, much needed and appreciated, company, support, and conversation, many times, necessary to get through the day. Cousins, Barbara Pannone, Robert and Joan Pelino and friends, Omer Brault, Jack Taylor, Joe and Peggy Criscione, and Bill Field, CNA.
Mr. Rianna’s funeral and burial will be private. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated when it is safe for family and friends to gather again. Donations in his memory may be made to the Rhode Island SPCA, 186 Amaral St., Riverside, RI 02915.
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