Friday, July 22, 2016

Cicco's Tavern Part 5

Lewis Cicco passed away on April 15, 1959 and his obituary (below) ran in the Lorain Journal the same day. It’s interesting that it focused on his high-profile career as a policeman that he enjoyed before getting into the tavern business.

His obituary describes him as "a big, friendly man with a knack for cultivating friends.” I think that’s a pretty nice way to be remembered!

Prohibition Squad Man Dead at 57

Lewis Cicco, a one-time Lorain city policeman who, in 1928, figured in one of the most sensational jury trials in Lorain County court history in connection with the shooting of a British woman subject, died today at 12:30 a. m. at St. Joseph Hospital.

Cicco’s death came on his 57th birthday anniversary following an illness of two weeks.

A native of Italy, Cicco was widely known in Lorain and Erie counties as a restaurant owner and chef for the last 31 years. He was chef at the new Vogue Room Restaurant, 2610 Colorado Ave., at the time of his death.

Cicco was a member of the Lorain prohibition enforcement squad when on the night of Sept. 27, 1928, he fired three shots at the pavement but in the direction of a speeding car believed to be occupied by rum runners.

One of the shots, evidence later showed, ricocheted and struck a British subject, Miss Betty Heywood, 22, of Elyria, in the back of the neck. Miss Heywood was a passenger in the rear seat of the car pursued by Cicco and the two other dry raiders.

The shooting, which took place on the east end of the E. 31st St. Bridge in South Lorain, and the jury trial which followed gained international prominence in newspapers and other publications.

The trial, which lasted two weeks, was one of the most spectacular in the history of the county courts.

Miss Heywood recovered and Cicco was found guilty of assault and battery by a trial jury. Cicco was fined $5 and costs in Lorain County Common Pleas Court. The costs amounted to $258.93.

Cicco, who was suspended from his police job, was later reinstated, but on Dec. 26, 1928, he resigned from the Lorain Police Department, less than eight months after his appointment as a policeman.

A big, friendly man with a knack for cultivating friends, Cicco was popular with restaurant patrons, business associates and fellow workers.

He owned and operated Cicco’s Edgewater Restaurant at Vermilion for about 17 years until two years ago when he sold the business. He also owned and operated the Chestnut Bar at Broadway and 18th St. for several years in the 1930s.

He also was a former employe at the Lorain yards of the American Ship Building Co. and of Alex Roth, a Lorain realtor, on a part-time basis for the past two years.

Cicco came to Lorain from Italy when six years old and lived here until 20 years ago when he moved to Vermilion. The family residence in Vermilion was at RD 1, Risden Rd.

Cicco was a member of the First Congregational Church, Ely Lodge, F. and A.M., and Royal Arch Masons, all of Vermilion; Sandusky Elks Club and Italian Mutual Benefit Society of Lorain.

He is survived by his widow, Edith; a daughter, Mrs. Marino Salvetta of Lorain; a son, Richard Cicco, who is with the U.S. Army in Germany; two brothers, Sam Cicco of Los Angeles, Calif., and Charles Cicco of Lorain; four sisters, Mrs. John Rosso Sr. of Willard, Mrs. Joseph Piserchia of Westfield, N.J., and Mrs. August Gallo and Mrs. Joseph Hoffman, both of Lorain; and two grandchildren.

Friends may call tomorrow after 1 p.m. at Edward M. Fisher Funeral Home, 340 E. South St., Vermilion, where funeral services will be Saturday at 2 p.m.

Ely Lodge Masonic rites will be conducted at the funeral home Friday at 8 p.m.

Rev. Earl T. English, pastor emeritus of First Congregational Church, Vermilion, will officiate at the Saturday funeral service. Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery, Vermilion.

Special thanks to Carolyn Stringer for her help with the preparation of this blog series. I apologize for the long delay in publishing these posts!

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