Lococo family in Danville
Published 1:39 am Friday, November 10, 2017
Nick Lococo, an Italian immigrant who lived in Danville in the 1940s, tried to locate his family in Italy during the World War II battle action in Europe but without success.
That changed in March 1944 when word came from a Frankfort soldier serving there located Lococo family members.
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The March 24, 1944, edition of the Advocate call the news an “unusual coincidence of the current war” after hearing the story.
Lococo had attempted to locate his family in Italy and Porticello, Sicily, where heavy bombing occurred during an invasion.
Efforts to contact the family proved fruitless, even though the Red Cross reported it impossible to locate anyone in the area.
Nick’s daughter, Lucretia, was visiting in Frankfort recently and read with amazement in a newspaper column a story about Pfc. Charles W. LaFontaine of Frankfort about him locating the Lococo family in Sicily. The same family of Nick and his brother John Lococo, a veteran of World War I and member of Frankfort Post 7, American Legion in Frankfort.
LaFontaine said he had no trouble finding the home of the Lococo family, the only family in that town with relatives in the United States.
“When I mentioned the name ‘Lococo’ it seemed the whole town turned out,” the soldier said.
“They showed me photos of John Lococo or his twin and are going to give me a note to send him.”
Nick Lococo was a well-known owner and operator of a fruit and vegetable wholesale business on West Walnut Street in Danville in the 1930s and 1940s.
He started with a shack for his fruit stand on Main Street, where it stayed until 1931 when the city ordered him to demolish it due to city regulations.
Lococo was ordered to move off Main Street by the Danville Board of Council. The Lococo fruit stand, just west of Jones Brothers Store on a Weisiger lot was erected without authority and in drastic violation of the present fire district ordinance, the city council said.
The Kentucky Actuarial Bureau was requested to adopt a new fire ordinance for Danville in order to prohibit insurance rates being raised.
The Council directed Mayor W.O. McIntyre to communicate with the Actuarial Bureau as to whether the Lococo shack, if permitted to stand, would affect insurance rates.
“It was made very plain that if the Lococo frame shack be permitted to stand, every piece of property in Danville may be raised. After deliberation, the council unanimously voted to direct Lococo to tear down his shack immediately.
Lococo then moved his business to West Walnut Street according to articles in the Kentucky Advocate Archives.
Lococo gets partner
Lococo and Ray Downing, former manager of the Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. store in Danville, formed a new partnership known as Lococo Fruit Company, the Advocate reported in 1944.
The Lococo firm, established in 1942, continued to operate in its present warehouse and refrigeration plant at the Walnut Street location.
A full-line of fresh fruit and produce in a variety was offered.
Downing, of Adams Street, had 10 years experience in Kroger stores, having come to the local business stand from Pineville. He was vice president of the Danville Lions Club and served as chairman of the Lions’ War Fund campaign canvass committee.
Nick and his wife, Addie Hurst, were married August 16, 1920, in Clark County, Indiana. She was a daughter of Thomas Hurst and Susie Cope of El Paso, Texas.
The Lococos lived at 463 Kentucky Avenue and had two daughters, Lucretia L., who was married to Henry Smith and Elizabeth, who was married to J. Robert Stagg.
Born August, 1887, in Porticello, Sicily, Italy, Nick had lived in Danville for 32 years and was active in SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
He was a son of Joseph Lococo and Lucretia Marino. He had a brother John who lived in Louisville and Frankfort.
Lococo died on Dec. 16, 1964, at his home after an illness.
His wife was born March 15, 1901, in Jackson County, Kentucky. She died August 14, 1968. Both are buried in Bellevue Cemetery.
Lococo registered for the draft April 27, 1942, in Danville. He was listed as white, with brown eyes, gray hair and ruddy complexion.
He also was active on a local bowling team. Lococo’s bowling team lengthened its lead in the Danville League in April 1940 on the Sullivan alleys when it defeated the Dr. Pepper team two out of three games. Lococo had 52 wins and 31 losses and was first place in the League that year.
Lococo’s daughter Elizabeth won a state-wide beauty contest in December 1938. She was to compete in the national contest in Miami, Florida, later that year. Earlier, she won the Danville beauty contest. The contests in Kentucky were sponsored by the American Legion.
(Research for this article was compiled by Mary Girard at Boyle County Public Library.)