Tell me about gangster funerals
October 24, 2010 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I'd like descriptions or, fiction about, gang and gangster funerals.

I'm interested in the different ways organised criminals around the world commemorate their dead, and I'd like to read journalist accounts, history, sociology, or any kind of book or film featuring organised criminal enterprises' funeral customs. Don Vito's funeral at the end of The Godfather I know about; I want more, and if possible, more factual.

How common is it, for instance, for the dead person's crimes to be celebrated, or glossed over in favour of their non-criminal life? How frequently do authority figures (politicians, clerics, celebrities) mourn the dead person in public? Are there memorials to criminals I should know about?

I'm especially interested in the customs of criminal organisations in developing countries, or in organisations which straddle the line between political violence and gangsterism (ie. FARC, the seedier Irish Republicans, drug cartels in Mexico) but customs from anywhere in the world or at any point in the past will satisfy my curiosity.
posted by Fiasco da Gama to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is The Wire's take on the funeral of lieutenants in Baltimore city gangs. The Wire is generally supposed to be pretty true-to-form, so I can't imagine they made up the wreaths detail.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:28 PM on October 24, 2010

Every gangster funeral on The Sopranos (at least four, off the top of my head) had a federal agent presence and absolutely no word was made about any illegal activities the dead had performed. It was just the standard "good husband and father" drill.
posted by griphus at 3:31 PM on October 24, 2010

From the New York Times, January 8, 2008, "Even in Exile, a Mobster Never Forsook His Code", about Salvatore (Bill) Bonanno, of the Bonanno crime family.
posted by Jahaza at 3:31 PM on October 24, 2010

At least tangentially related is the cult of Holy Death in Mexico, highlighted in this New Yorker article.
posted by Jahaza at 3:34 PM on October 24, 2010

I'm not calling Romanian gypsies criminals, hell no. Let's just say some like to keep their assets as portable as possible. But when they bury their head of the family, they really splurge on anything he might need in his afterlife.
posted by ouke at 4:47 PM on October 24, 2010

You could read up on the funeral of David Ungi in Liverpool in the mid-1990s, perhaps. Eminently googleable surname if you want to find out more--I see that his son was injured in a shooting in 2007, too.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2010

Six Feet Under had this episode about the funeral of an LA gang member. Wish I had more than just fiction for you.
posted by piedmont at 8:35 PM on October 24, 2010

Oh--you'll notice from the results on Google that when his son got shot in 2007, the Liverpool Echo described David Ungi as "murdered Liverpool businessman". I'm not sure if this is 'glossing over', playing to the crowd, or simple prudence--a Liverpool journalist writing for a local audience that probably includes the family being at greater risk of a visit from the boys than a London journalist writing for a paper they almost certainly won't read.

Unfortunately the Echo's internet presence doesn't seem to go back as far as 1995, so you can't find anything there about the original events. I seem to recall that there were a couple of lads who, stoned off their faces, disrupted the funeral cortège, not realizing whose it was, and had to go into hiding afterwards. I could find out more if you like (drop me a MeMail)--I know someone who was working in the press there at the time.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 8:58 PM on October 24, 2010

Here's a paper on Russian mafia funeral practices: Whacked But Not Forgotten. You might also be interested in photos of their elaborate tomb stones, such as those here and here.
posted by carmicha at 9:06 PM on October 24, 2010

108 limos in this case :
posted by 3mendo at 11:51 PM on October 24, 2010

more tomb stones from english russia

ukranian mobsters

russian mobsters
posted by knockoutking at 7:49 AM on October 25, 2010

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