By John O`Brien
May 30, 1992
In another time, there assuredly would have
been flower cars and many more mourners. Maybe even a wiseguy
like Sam DeStefano, who delighted in making faces at the detectives
riding right on his tail to the cemetery.
Pallbearers from among the deceased`s friends
could be expected to smile, even wave to the photographers, not
turn away or slink off. And those from public life, the glamor people
of show business, politics and even organized labor and the sport
of boxing, they would be there, some of them signing autographs
for the curious gathered behind the sweeping driveway of Chicago`s
Montclair-Lucania Funeral Home to see "a real somebody"
get a grand sendoff.
The funerals of Paul Ricca, Felix Alderisio
and Sam Giancana-three successors of Al Capone in the 1950s, `60s
and `70s-had resembled those mob funerals of yesteryear, drawing
mourners and federal agents searching for license plate numbers
to copy down.
On Friday, when the late and barely lamented
Anthony J. Accardo was carried to his final reward, the only flowers
for the reputed boss of Chicago`s underworld were two sprays of
yellow and pink roses inside the slate gray hearse. The visible mourners, aside from immediate
family members trailing behind in five Cadillac limousines, consisted
of two old pals from Accardo`s old Grand Avenue neighborhood on
the West Side. Police identified them as Joseph Amato, 84, of
Lake Zurich, a reputed crime boss in Lake and McHenry Counties,
and Rocco DeGrazio, 89, of Wood Dale, a retired Chicago florist.
Years ago, when Accardo and his wife, Clarice,
traveled abroad, DeGrazio`s brother, former Chicago police Lt.
Anthony DeGrazio, had accompanied the couple as a sort of bodyguard.
There was no sign of any notables, except
perhaps two of the pallbearers, Ernest Kumerow, Accardo`s son-in-law
and president of Local 1001 of the International Laborers Union,
and his son, Eric, a Chicago Bears football player.
The no-shows, who stayed away more to avoid
photographers than out of respect for the family`s wish for privacy,
included John DiFronzo and Sam Carlisi, reputed to share power
as the mob`s street bosses.
Amato and DeGrazio did not linger to pay
respects, and they did not attend a brief prayer service presided
over by a Catholic priest. The priest came and went through a
back door of the funeral home, 6901 W. Belmont Ave. "He would have wanted it that way. Quiet,
no hoopla," an FBI agent said of Accardo, who died Wednesday
at 86 and whose reputed crime career began under Al Capone in
the 1920s. "I`m really surprised," said Bob
Cody, a mob expert during his days as a Chicago police detective.
"Sure, the family wants privacy. So
what else is new. But here`s a guy who must have had a thousand
friends here and around the country, and now nothing," he
If Cody was disappointed, the crowd of about
80 onlookers didn`t seem to mind. "It is not every day that a Tony Accardo
dies," remarked Josephine Kohler, a neighborhood woman who
stood for two hours, waiting outside the funeral home. "This
Cody and his police companions tailed the
cortege to Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, and watched as
Accardo`s casket of polished wood was carried inside a mausoleum.
Then, when no one was looking, some spectators
moved to the hearse and picked up a handful of yellow and pink
roses that had fallen from the casket. "A keepsake,"
said one, slipping the rose into his pocket.
Copyright 1998, The Tribune Company.