Graveside Recap August 12th 2011 – Mt. Olivet Cemetery
As I’m sitting here in the lounge, at the cigar shop, puffing on a cigar. For starters I haven’t been doing any serious grave hunting since, I’ve been back from the gravecation I went on at the end of May to Los Angeles. I suppose I’ve just been busy with school, and other projects I’ve been working on namely producing the Gravecast Podcast which you can find on this blog.
So let me bring you all up to speed on yesterdays trek to Mt. Olivet cemetery in Detroit. Recently, I discovered on the Mt. Elliott Cemetery Association website which Mt. Olivet cemetery is a part of. That if you click on the “Genealogy” link on the website, you will come to the “Search For An Ancestor” page. This page is a searchable database organized by name (first, middle, last), approximate date of death with the years starting in 1810, and ending in 2011, and then cemetery. There are six cemeteries in the Mt. Elliott Cemetery Association database. I found the easiest way to do a search, was to mention the last name(s) of the people you were looking for, omit the cemetery, list the years ranging from the earliest to the latest, this will widen your search no doubt, but will search all the cemeteries in the database.
After the discovery of the database, I got to thinking. I could use this database to do my research, which would save the time I’d have to waste bothering the clerks in the office at the various cemeteries which are a part of the Mt. Elliott Association. So all I’d have to do is get the section maps I’d need, then I could go on my way.
Which brings me to yesterday’s trek at Mt. Olivet. As many of you probably know one of the things I specialize in as a grave hunter, is tracking down the final resting places of gangsters. Being that Mt. Olivet cemetery in Detroit has an overabundance of organized crime figures gravesites. I decided to use the website database I mentioned above for my own personal gain.
While searching a few names on the database, I was able to get the locations of some Detroit mafioso’s buried in Mt. Olivet, and Resurrection cemetery. Being that I just planned to visit Mt. Olivet, I wrote down the names & locations I found for that cemetery. Then off I went. The figures I found on the database included Matthew “Mike” Rubino, Dominic “Sparky” Corrado, & Leonard “Black Leo” Cellura. There were a few other names I looked up which I knew the locations for but out of curiosity I looked up their names for the hell of it.
After arriving at the cemetery, I stopped by the office to get the section maps I needed. First on the list was “alleged” Detroit Mafioso Matthew “Mike” Rubino. Born in 1911, and passing away in 1972. Rubino had various “alleged” criminal interests, along with legitimate business interests. For a better understanding of Rubino’s activities (both alleged criminal, and legitimate) please visit this website.
Next on the tour who’s graveside I paid my utmost respects to was Leonard “Black Leo” Cellura. Born in 1892, Cellura was “alleged” to of been affiliated with the Gianolla brothers, and was a close friend of Salvatore “Sam” Catalanotte. Not much else is known about Cellura other than he survived the mob wars which plagued the city of Detroit during the early part of the century. He passed away at the ripe old age of 80 in 1972. One of the interesting things about Cellura is that he’s buried in an unmarked grave in the family plot of the Darga family which was his wife Bertha’s maiden name.
The next graveside I visited & paid my respects to was the grave of Dominic “Sparky” Corrado. Born in 1913, Dominic is the brother of Pietro Corrado. Sparky got his start in organized crime, as an enforcer for the original leaders of Detroit’s LCN faction. Not much else is known about him that I could dig up, other than that he was a suspect in numerous unsolved underworld murders. He passed away in October of 1976. The other two names I had locations for one of which turned out to be false, the other the door of the mausoleum building at Mt. Olivet was locked.
So keeping with tradition and not wanting the day to come to an abrupt end. I went over to where Salvatore “Sam” Catalanotte’s gravesite monument was and paid my respects to him. Salvatore got his start in the Detroit La Cosa Nostra faction working for the Gianolla/Giannola brothers during the Vitale-Giannola War. Was known as a peacemaker because he lobbied for an uneasy alliance between the east and westside mobs in Detroit, which for some reason was named the Pascuzzi Combine. Catalanotte unfortunately lost his life due to complications from influenza.
Next up and rounding out the day, I visited the graveside of Chester “Big Chet” LaMare. He was an early leader of the Detroit mafia. He led the westside mob, which was based in Hamtramck a hamlet located within the city limits of Detroit. LaMare was a strong opponent of Angelo Meli, and Joseph Zerilli, which would eventually cost him his life. All in all it was a great day, for a great hunt. I’m gonna be going back to Mt. Olivet in the coming days for more grave hunting grandeur. So please stay tuned.