On this date in 1962...
Brooklyn-based crime boss Joseph Profaci died at ten minutes to eleven o'clock in the evening of Wednesday, June 6, 1962. The cause of death for the sixty-four-year-old leader of the Profaci Crime Family (later known as the Colombo Crime Family) was cancer.
Profaci was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in East Islip, Suffolk County, New York, on March 27, intending to have cancer surgically removed. Doctors found the cancer inoperable. He was released from Good Samaritan on April 5 and became a guest at the secure fifteen-room East Islip estate of his brother-in-law and second-in-command Giuseppe Magliocco. He remained there for two months.
Profaci's own home at 8863 Fifteenth Avenue in Brooklyn was largely avoided in that time. It was considered vulnerable to attack by the Gallo brothers faction, then in open revolt against the Profaci administration. Friction between Profaci and the Gallos dated back to the late 1950s, when the Gallos felt they had been inadequately rewarded for performing murders at the boss's orders. The Gallos forced early-1961 concessions by kidnapping several top Profaci leaders. But Profaci went back on the coerced promises and attempted to have the Gallo leaders murdered, making use of young mobsters who had betrayed the Gallo cause. Blood was spilled on both sides beginning in August 1961.
On Tuesday, June 5, 1962, Profaci was taken to Southside (subsequently renamed South Shore) Hospital in Bay Shore, Suffolk County, New York. Though he passed away the following night, Southside Hospital made no announcement until Thursday.
Newspaper reports published on June 8 described Profaci as a vicious and treacherous mob boss who, more or less successfully, portrayed himself as a businessman, a faithful churchgoer and a family man.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Monsignor Francis P. Barilla for Profaci on the morning of Monday, June 11, at St. Bernadette's Roman Catholic Church, 8201 Thirteenth Avenue between Eighty-second and Eighty-third Streets. Profaci's remains were held within a bronze coffin placed at the altar rail between rows of floral tributes.
More than a dozen police detectives and FBI agents scanned the two-hundred attendees for known crime figures. They reportedly found none.
Following a service of forty-five minutes, in which there was no eulogy, the remains were interred at St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens, New York.
- "Profaci, reputed Mafia leader, dies of cancer," Scranton PA Times, June 8, 1962, p. 1.
- "Profaci dies of cancer; led feuding Brooklyn mob," New York Times, June 8, 1962.
- "S'long, Joe, the cops wonder wacha know," New York Daily News, June 12, 1962, p. 2.
- Director FBI, "Criminal Intelligence Digest," Letter to FBI SAC New York, Nov. 8, 1961, NARA #124-10220-10084, p. 6.
- Doty, Robert C., "16 in Gallo Gang seized to halt war on Profacis," New York Times, Dec. 11, 1963, p. 1.
- Federici, William, and Neal Patterson, "Profaci rubbed out by cancer," New York Daily News, June 8, 1962, p. 5.
- House Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives, 95th Congress, 2d Session, Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Appendix to Hearings, Report Volume IX, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979.