Questions : Was my Dad’s idol Capone?


Old Home of Capone up for sale. The wake for Frank Salvatorre was held here.

Today I noticed on FB trending that Al Capone’s house was up for sale.  I started researching the location and then it lead me to research the location of the photos, I posted here of my Dad and his cronies back in the early 40’s or late 30’s.   Now as I  inspected the photo’s closer and then reviewed an old video I have of my Uncle talking about locations of places in Chicago in reference to his half brother, my Dad.   This lead me to start wondering as I looked at these photo’s.


My Dad 2nd one over in the Greenwood Manor photo. He must have taken the photo in the first shot.

Was my Dad’s Idol Capone?  There is no way to really know that for sure, my Dad passed away in the 80’s not like I can go ask him.  I can’t remember this ever coming up in conversation. I can’t ask my beloved mother who is 94 and has dementia.  So I am left to speculate.

I suppose all the men looked like Capone back then, and therefore, these photos show that as proof.  But I always knew my Dad be in the popular groups of people.  I looked at the map and thought wow, although when my Dad was in Chicago, I don’t think  Capone was there ever at the same time he was. Since chances are he was incarcerated during the time this was taken.  But just who did my Dad know?


Based on the Map location I had to wonder these things. That is really close to Gangster housing.  I do know from history that Chicago was full of Gangsters of the 30’s and 40’s. I looked at the photo of Capone’s old home.  I tried to imagine the cars there the older character to the homes.  People walking casually down the streets, unconcerned now about gangster habitat.  It really is rather interesting to see the contrasts.

My Dad always knew everyone, he seemed to come home telling stories about many people and things that at the time I had no interest in.  I wonder what story he could have told me about those photos in front of the car, eating what seems to be Ice cream bars.

I remember one story he told me was about his affiliation as a friend or co worker of a guy called “Max Ward” who was convicted of murder in San Francisco for the murder of  2 people.  The victims had positions in the Painter Union that put them in a place they ended up targets. I think it also had a lot to do with money, that’s more than likely. Money always a good motive.  This happened in the mid 60’s.  I thought it was weird and my Dad stopped talking about Max at home.  My mom use to hear his stories when he came home we were always in the background.   I think he didn’t know we heard and for me I could understand what murderer was.  I do remember him telling my mom about Max.

The story began with the Painters and Contractors Union located in Sacramento, Ca.  My Dad was a member of this. He had been a builder, painter and a contractor for sometime. He was also in the habit of fanagling for jobs.  Course that may have been part of what bidding was about.  Anyway we lived in Sacramento, in Carmichael to be exact.   That is when I heard about this, I don’t know if my Dad was uneasy about the whole thing but he may have been nervous because of his association with Max.  He knew him it seems from working on jobs (contracting).  I in fact remember Max coming over to our house once, and my Dad talked to him all the time on jobs.  Its kind of scary to think he had an associate that was capable of murder.   Max Ward was convicted and was put in prison for life as well as cohorts.  See article link :

It is also mentioned in the article that they wanted someone to do the dirty job but didn’t want to have to get someone from Chicago to do it.  Well question did my Dad know these people in this union from Chicago?  Who knows.  But it made me wonder.   But also the hushing of the story in my house could have been my Dad, got the sh*t scared out of him about the whole thing that went down.  I’m sure the Police may have even talked to him.

I wanted to research more about Max Ward but the only thing I found was that one Legal document. Wonder if he died in prison or got paroled?  It is amazing how one thing can lead to another in the net.   I wonder what my Dad would have said or how he would have loved computer’s or would he?  In our era we can go back and look at things from different perspectives.  I see my Dad in an entirely different light the more I learn about things I find on the internet.  Is that Odd?  It probably just goes hand in hand with the easy access to information we all have now.

My fascination with Boardwalk Empire definitely has enlightened the thoughts about my Dad being from Chicago, and Capone.  Plus the multitude of Gangsters who are portrayed in Boardwalk.  My Dad grew up in the era of these kingpins as a kid he must have heard all the stories and been either intrigued or impressed or frightened.  Yet my Dad’s personality was a big shot. He always seemed to be his own boss.  He always preferred working for himself.  I wonder if he walked by Capone’s house.  I wonder if he visited those places of murder and mayhem.   All of this just fills my mind with fascination about who my Dad was.  Wish I could learn more but I know it will be hard to track down any information, as his era most people have passed with any solid info.  Who knows maybe someone from Chicago will read this and enlighten me further.  My Dad’s name was Donald Ellsworth.   Feel free to message me!  Thus, there it is, my Questions and probabilities for the day.