I was browsing through some of Dad’s old photo albums from the 1970s, and I found something that had me scratching my head.
One of the photo albums was entitled “Knights of Columbus 1978” (allegedly a group my father had belonged to for many years). Purportedly, this group does all sorts of good deeds for communities, like having fundraisers.
Was My Dad And His Pals In The Mafia? The Photos Reveal The Truth
I guess in the 70’s the whole KOFC gang went down to take their annual headshots at the local photography studio in Chula Vista California.
Sadly, after going through his album, I now think the Knights of Columbus might be one big ruse. Maybe this “Knights of Columbus” group he joined wasn’t such a do-gooder organization. Maybe it was the mafia!
All those nights they spent together were not planning fund-raising and community service, maybe they were eating in Pizza Parlors and planning shakedowns or something.
Mind you, I don’t have any proof. It’s just that they look like they were all in the Mafia.
#1 The Grand Pooba – AKA Frankie Smooth Slice
The Grand Poobah of them all – My Dad, Frank McKenna, sitting in his classic brown suit with fabric that looks like it was yanked off a Goodwill rack.
Sure, he got the title “Grand Knight,” but his real job was smooth-talking city officials, bribing police, recruiting youth, and generally greasing the skids for all mob activity in the city.
#2 Carmen Lapone AKA “The Chancelor”
With a name like Carmen Lapone, I can’t figure out why I didn’t figure out the whole ruse when I was a kid.
I imagine Lapone didn’t take any lip. Officially, Carmen was the Chancellor and was responsible for taking notes at KofC meetings; unofficially, though, and entirely off the books, he was accountable for running firearms through the city. This is what my wild imagination is telling me he did.
Carmen was the go-to guy when he came to silencers and “The Assassin’s Toolkit,” which was a specialty kit he sold.
#3 Don Deaner, the “Chaplain” or Dirty Don Deaner
Sweet Don Deaner and his band of Merry Greeters. Don had the privilege of running the merchant shake-down operations for most of Chula Vista. When sweet-smiling Don and his band of Henchman would pay you a visit, you quickly pulled out a sizable donation to his crew; of course, you were afforded the protection of his services.
# 4 – Charlie “The Warden” AKA Chuckling Charlie
Charlie looked harmless enough, but when you got to know him, he could make “El Chapo” look like an honor scout. Appropriately enough, Charlie had the responsibility of “Warden” activities with the KofC, which meant locking doors in the building, etc. Charlie was responsible for collecting debts, and he would stop and do nothing if that’s what it took.
# 5 – Harold Ross “Treasurer” aka Funny Business
Hello, Harold Ross. Do you find that funny? What part of my name do you find funny? Am I a clown to you? You think I’m some kind of funny clown. Bam… Baseball bat to the head, and good night, sir. (That is how a typical conversation with Harold Ross would usually go)
Member 6 – Leonard Deaver AKA “Duckin Deaver”
Leonard Deaver would give that laugh. It would be like a “Har Har Har” aww shucks type of laugh (same as you see below), and then he would pull out a nine milli and pop a cap in your a%^. Legend has it that he always wore Red Suit jackets to disguise the blood spatter from his hits.
# 7 – Charles Demy “Lecturer” aka Lucky Charlie
Lucky Charlie held the title of Lecturer in the Knights of Columbus, which was an excellent little title for him. It’s too bad Lucky Charlie was also in charge of cracking safes and picking locks. If you were going to rob a bank, Charlie was pretty much your go-to guy.
#8- Vincent Olo “Trustee” or Jimmy Blue Eyes
He didn’t have blue eyes, which was odd, but that was his nickname. By day he was Trustee for the Knights of Columbus, by night he was in charge of Voter Intimidation and infiltrating local unions. My guess is if you dig around in his backyard, you might find one “Jimmy Hoffa” back there.
# 9 – Wallie Leddah aka “King Giblet”
Wallie Leddah was a the designated cook of the Knight of Columbus, but he didn’t mind because his real job was running Sir George’s Smorgasbord backroom gambling operation on Broadway. Rumor has it Wallie took a few fingers in his day and put them in the Hot Dog casserole, which hungry patrons would mistake for Vienna sausages.
So there you have it. The Knights of Columbus was a front for the mob. Who would have thought? Well, no one did, actually, until I uncovered the whole thing while going through the photos.