However, last Saturday I attended the funeral of my friend Donald Di Carlo, also known by his friends as Donny Di Carlo, and while a funeral is always a sad occasion, I was surprised to see that there were no bookies (none than I knew of) there, and no one with double breasted striped suits and dark glasses.
Despite the fact that Donny was originally from Buffalo, NY — a place that many consider the New York capital of the Godfathers — all I saw at that funeral were hard-working people, hotel employees, and a few cab drivers, since Di Carlo was one for twenty years in Las Vegas.
Donald Di Carlo was related by blood to the last of the Caci brothers; Jerry Caci, who is in his late 80s, today lives quietly in the outskirts of Buffalo with his close and immediate family members.
Charles James Caci died January 17, 2006. He was known as “Bobby Milano,” and was an entertainer and producer, a longtime fixture in the Palm Springs area, and was allegedly a soldier in the Los Angeles crime family.
Vincent D. “Jimmy” Caci, described by associates as one of the toughest mobsters ever to emerge from Buffalo’s underworld, died of an illness in Palm Springs, Calif. two weeks after his 86th birthday and five years after his brother.
A one-time tough mobster said to have specialized in loan-sharking and shakedown schemes in Buffalo — and later in Las Vegas and Los Angeles — “Jimmy” was buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Cheektowaga, “a
low-key farewell for a man who lived a stormy life, rubbed elbows with big-time mobsters and entertainers, and got involved in some high-profile criminal investigations,” reports The Buffalo News.
Rumors were that Donald Di Carlo was at one time on his way up as a numbers man (bookie) in Buffalo, but I have learned that the love for his lifelong (50 years) partner, his wife Rosa, and his family, was the detour in Donny’s life; he moved to Las Vegas and became an honest cab driver, making his wife proud of him.
When Rosa Di Carlo died a few years back Las Vegas Tribune dedicated a full page to her memory out of respect to her husband, who by that time had built a sincere friendship with the paper.
I can hear now those mental midgets that hate me and are always looking for excuses to criticize me, asking why I am writing about Charlie, Jimmy and Jerry Caci if just at the beginning of this column I happened to mention that I was surprised to see that there were no bookies (none than I knew of),and no one with double breasted striped suits and dark glasses.
First of all, the Cacis were blood relatives of Donny; second, I know how warm the feelings were among those four human beings who I had the honor of meeting and sharing memories with.
Donny used to come to my office and we’d talk about everything from the past, and by the time he left I was getting ready to look for my dark glasses, such as I have never worn, and was ready to buy me a black striped suit to look like former mayor Oscar Goodman; of course, though, I never did.
In fact now that I am getting ready to have my eyes operated on and the doctor ordered me to wear dark glasses to protect my eyes from the sun, I spent three days looking for those dark glasses that someone gave me a long time ago and I have never worn.
I used to make fun of people that I’d see arriving at the airport with sunglasses, dark suits, dark shirt and white tie, looking like they just came out of an Al Capone movie; but lucky me, I never got that gangster fever that many suffered from.
But I have never shied away from my friends, regardless of their social standing and regardless what the media writes about them. I went to court with Charlie Caci when the Honorable Judge Philip Pro sentenced him to probation a few years ago and I welcomed his brother Jimmy when coming out from a few years behind bars.
Donny used to come to my office and reminisce about the old days, and I liked doing that, so we had that in common. Just a few months ago Donny surprised me by showing up at my office, and days later we ran into each other at Smith’s grocery store and spent about a half an hour in the parking lot talking about everything. Luckily it was not 107 degrees at that time, and luckily we both were in enough of a hurry and didn’t have time to rehash our entire past.
Today I am glad I have those memories to remember my friend by and I pray to the Lord that his daughter Nicolette and the rest of the family finds resignation for coping with the reality that Donny is now with his wife Rosa in the company of the good Lord.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him
at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at 702-272-4634.