LEE COUNTY, Fla.- What’s in a name?
A local woman has struggled with that question her entire life, because her last name is Capone. As in Al Capone, the most feared crime boss in American history.
Now, Deidre Capone has written a book about her great-uncle.
“He was a man’s man. If you met him, you would like him.”
Capone spoke at the Davis Art Center in Fort Myers about her book “Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story from Inside the Family.”
“He taught me to ride a bike, he taught me to play the mandolin, we cooked together, we would sing together… we were a very close family.”
Capone says Uncle Al was a brilliant businessman, who gave people what they wanted during prohibition.
“My family prided themselves that they provided good quality alcohol.”
She says she was shunned by classmates at school, and fired from her first job out of school because of her name.
“It was horrible to grow up in the City of Chicago with the last name Capone.”
She notes Al Capone was not imprisoned for gang-related violence, only income tax evasion. Decades after his death, the government portrayed him as a public enemy for all time.
She hid her name from everyone but her husband.
“There would be times I would be mad at God, for making me a Capone.”
She told her four children the truth after they moved away from Chicago.
“I said ‘I was born Deidre Marie Capone, Al Capone was my uncle.’ They looked back at me, and altogether they said ‘cool mom!'”
Capone is the last remaining member of Chicago Capones. She likes to point out she, her four children, and 14 grandchildren, are crime free.
“There’s never been anything more than a speeding ticket, parking ticket that any of us have gotten.”
Capone says she realizes that her remembrances are going up against a tidal wave of negative opinion about Al Capone, but she feels compelled to add her own words to the record.