Friday, January 25, 2013


1/25/1947 - After spending his final prison years on Alcatraz and Terminal Island in the institutions' hospitals as his mind slowly deteriorates from the ravages of syphilis (picked up from spending too much time sampling the lovelies of the Chicago prostitution racket he oversees), his sentence reduced for "good behavior," crime lord Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone, is freed from prison to enjoy the rest of the few years he has left.  

                                                        Al on Alcatraz

Out of the crime business, Capone returns to his mansion on Palm Island in Florida and spends the next eight years fishing, being with his family (his son will attend Notre Dame under the alias of Brown), raving (a favorite topic is that Bugs Moran is still trying to have him killed, though the gangster is incarcerated in an Ohio prison at the time), and hallucinating (a Baltimore psychiatrist who examines Capone in 1946 will say the former mob boss has the mental functioning of a 12-year-old child).

                                                         Madman Mansion

The beginning of the end for Capone comes at around 4:00 in the morning of Tuesday, January 21, 1947, when the gangster suffers a major stroke.  Final rites are given by Father Cloonan of the local St. Patrick parish, but surprisingly, after fourteen hours in a coma, Capone wakes up and asks to talk to his wife and son.  At first it appears that the mobster is "out of the woods" ... but on Friday, pneumonia comes fatally calling.  Lungs congested and his doctors, Kenneth Phillips and Arthur J. Logie, powerless to improve his situation, Capone grows weaker and weaker and finally dies, his family at his bedside (wife Mae will collapse with grief), from a heart attack on Saturday at 7:25 in the morning.  The infamous crime boss is only eight days beyond his forty-eighth birthday when he passes.  

Notorious from coast-to-coast, Monsignor William Barry of St. Patrick's allows the gangster to have a memorial service at the cathedral, but refuses Capone a Requiem Mass.  As for burial, Capone of course chooses Chicago for his final resting place.  On the afternoon of February 4, 1947, in four-degree cold, at Plot 48 of the Mount Olivet Cemetery (it has taken the sextons there over three hours to hack out a hole in the ground), between the graves of his father and brother, Al Capone is laid to rest in a bronze casket wreathed in a blanket of gardenias topped by fifty orchids.


In 1950, Capone and family are moved to the Mount Carmel Cemetery ... he is buried there still ... beneath a marker that states ... MY JESUS MERCY.  Indeed!

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