Calabrese, known as "the Breeze" in mob circles, died of an apparent heart attack on Christmas day, said to be his favorite holiday. But the ruthless hitman who became a boss apparently wanted no tears shed over his passing. According to those familiar with Calabrese's final wishes, there was to be no wake or funeral.
Once upon a time, the passing of a top Chicago hoodlum attracted hundreds of mourners -- in a command performance of public sadness and wailing -- surrounded by huge spreads of flowers and food. In the Outfit's heyday, a mobster such as Frank "the Breeze" Calabrese would have commanded such a final tribute.
But not so after the passing of Calabrese while serving a life sentence in the Family Secrets prosecution. He apparently made it clear he didn't want such fanfare, after being taken down by his own son, Frank Calabrese Jr., and his brother Nick, he left behind a mob family in disarray and his blood family fractured in pieces.
"He did everything he could to ruin our family," said youngest son Kurt Calabrese. "All for greed. Money was God...didn't care about anyone and hurt people."
Kurt Calabrese, who shunned the mob and his father's lifestyle, tells the ITeam that he went to North Carolina shortly after Christmas to identify his dad's remains. But there was no wake and no funeral. He said his goodbyes that day to a man who ruled and dominated his life, and took the lives of many others.
In a 2011 interview, Kurt Calabrese told the ITeam:
"To me, my father was the boogieman. My father was the one who hid underneath the bed and jumped out of closets. I cried myself to sleep as a kid hoping that I wouldn't wake up in the morning...it's still like that for me."
Calebrese Sr. was 75 years old when he died on Christmas Day, alone and in segregation at the Butner, North Carolina, prison hospital.