Carl J. DiCapo

November 7, 1927 – April 26, 2023

Carl Jack DiCapo, age 95, went to be with the Lord on April 26, 2023, with his family around him.

Services will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Catholic Church, 3333 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111. The Visitation will be Wednesday, May 3, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, followed by burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a Carl J. DiCapo Memorial Scholarship has been established through UNICO. Donations can be sent c/o Frank Cherrito, 5440 N. Oak Trafficway, Ste. 200, Kansas City, MO 64118 or online at (mention funds are for Carl’s 2024 scholarship).

Carl was born November 7, 1927, to the late Jack and Kelly (Bivona) DiCapo. He married the love of his life and his bride of almost 70 years, Anita “Sugie” Donnici, in 1954. Along with his loving wife, he is also survived by three sons Jack (Pam), John David (Julia), and Carl Michael; three granddaughters Lauren (Luke) Marvine, Alexandra (Rishi) Patel, and Ava DiCapo; and two great-granddaughters Penelope and Mela Marvine. Also, nephew Victor Cascio and nieces Rozanne Scimeca and Christy Hartner, for they were like his children; sister-in-law Loretta Donnici; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Carl was preceded in death by his sisters Josephine Vaccaro and husband Charlie, Carolyn and husbands Ralph Bondon and Mike Berbiglia; brothers-in-law Dr. Frank Donnici and Pete Donnici; sister-in-law Clarene Cascio and husband Ross; and nephew Victor Carl Vaccaro. 

A lifelong Kansas Citian, Mr. DiCapo was widely acclaimed for being an example of the best the city had to offer. He was a man for all reasons. As a proud native of the Old Northeast neighborhood and a graduate of Northeast High School in 1944 at 4′ 11 tall and weighed 84 lbs., he was the smallest of his class. He then attended Kansas City Junior College for one year then spent the next three years at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Fraternity. He left the University before being able to enter medical school as he was one of the first in line to be drafted in the Korean War. While waiting for the draft to occur, he worked at the Internal Revenue Service. Ultimately, he was never drafted. He was elected president of the 1500 Internal Revenue employees association.

In 1953, while at the IRS, he received a call from his brother-in-law Ralph Bondon who needed a cashier for the night at his restaurant The Italian Gardens – “Would he please help?” Carl fell in love with the restaurant and lasted 46 years. Mr. DiCapo fed Kansas Citizens and visitors from across the country at the acclaimed Gardens, welcoming neighbors and celebrities with the same warm greeting and abundant food. He served as cashier, manager, president, and chairman of the board. In 1998 he retired. The restaurant closed in 2003. He served on the Missouri Restaurant Association as legislative chairman and was able to pass Sunday liquor in restaurants (blue Law) and allow 18-year-olds to serve liquor in restaurants. He also served as president of the Kansas City Chapter and State president. He was named restaurateur of the year and was inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame, among many other accomplishments. listed below:

  • Carl joined the Boy Scouts in 1937 and continued in scouting the rest of his life as scoutmaster, district chairman, ember of the tribe of Mic O Say – named ‘Great Feeder of Many People; Keeper of the wampum; started the outreach program; signed over 6400 inter-city boys in to scouting in three years; received the Whitney E. Young Jr. Award; and presented the National Eagle Scout Award to then FBI Director William Steele Sessions in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • He joined UNICO (Italian Service Organization) in 1964. President 1980 and 2001 Chairman of annual dinner for 20 years. In one year 1850 people attended. He received The Joseph P. Cianci Humanitarian Award, the highest award you can receive.
  • Elected to the board of Don Bosco Community Center 1971. In 1975 brought in the first 273 Vietnam displaced persons into the area. Fed the great people of Columbus Park Christmas dinner each year.
  • Director of the Convention and Visitor Bureau from 1971 to 1981. Got rid of the Blue Law.
  • Started the very first Saint Patrick Day Parade with Mike Murphy and Danny Hogarty. “They came in one night and ask if I would sit with them. Mike said that Kansas City is the largest city in the USA that does not have a St Pats Parade. I told Mike it’s your fault. You’re on radio everyday tell the people we are going to have a parade. Yes do it tomorrow and that’s how it started. If anyone tells it different they are liars.”
  • Named chairman of Kansas City of the Kansas City Bicentennial by Mayor Charles Wheeler in 1975. Did it with 12 ethnic groups. Received an outstanding award by the USA chairman Senator John Warner of Virginia. Mayor Richard Berkley renamed the group ‘The Ethnic Enrichment Commission’ which John co-chaired. Today there are 65 members.
  • Appointed commissioner of the Land Clearance
  • Joined Rotary Club #13
  • Was one of the founders of Parklane Medical Center with Dr. James DiRenna. Chairman of the board from1978 to 1983.
  • Built the doctors’ building.
  • Named Columbian of the Year by the Sons of Columbus in 1979.
  • Received the spirit of Life award from the City Of Hope.
  • Named to the advisory board of the University of Missouri.
  • Appointed to the Private Industry Council.
  • Received the Air Force Sergeant Commendation award.
  • 1985 Named Chairman of Barney Allis Park by Mayor Richard Berkley.
  • Named Chairman of the Citizens Association of Kansas City.
  • Appointed to The Desegregation Monitoring Committee and Chairman of the Voluntary district transfer by Judge Russell Clark in 1987.
  • Received the Gillis Home award in 1991.
  • Received the Mnookin Brown post VFW – 25 years of service award.
  • Received a bachelor degree from the University of Missouri, 43 years late in 1991.
  • Fountain on Cliff Drive was renamed The Carl J. DiCapo fountain by a resolution of the Kansas City Park Commission in 1993.
  • Named to the Salvation Army Christmas Committee in 1993.
  • Received the Patriot of the Year from the Sons of the Revolution in 1994.
  • Named to the Salvation Army board.
  • Named trustee of the Liberty Memorial in 1994.
  • Speaker at the Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast in 1994.
  • Started the Mike Murphy Cattle Drive in 1995.
  • Named to the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission in 1994.
  • Named to the Shriners Board in 1994.
  • Named Chairman of Corinthian Hall in 1997.
  • Named to the Man of the Month Club in 1999.
  • Named to the Sister City Commission in 1999.
  • Received award from Project Aim Campfire Girls Heartland in 1999.
  • Received Rotary #13 outstanding award for signing 138 new members, most in the USA, in 2000.
  • Received Salvation Army’s highest award, William Booth Award.
  • Along with Buck O’Neil, received the Outstanding Kansas City award From Native Sons in 2001.
  • Received Citizen of Year by Southtown Foundation in 2001.
  • The City of Kansas City renamed Main Street from Pershing Road to 27th Street The Carl J. DiCapo Drive in 2002.
  • Elected President of the Liberty Memorial in 2002. “The memorial had been closed for four years. We were afraid people would fall to their death for the flooring was gone. We had hired two great fundraisers from New York but no results. The Park board was going to tear it down, they felt no one cared.” Carl called Senator Ronnie DePasco. He set a meeting with the Veterans and they pledged $ 5 million Dollars for Carl to begin. Later pledged an additional 10 million for the museum. He raised a total of $107 million dollars. That’s why the Liberty Museum is there today.
  • Elected President of Rotary Club #13 in 2002.
  • Co-Chair of the Toys for Tots in 2002.
  • US Marines 1st Division Named Carl Honorary Marine and a full Colonel in 2002.
  • Received Community Christian Church Leading Light award in 2002.
  • Received outstanding State of Missouri Junior College Alumni award in 2005.
  • Carl was roasted by 32 nonprofits, with 728 attended and 823 paid in 2007.
  • Elected Chairman of board of the Metropolitan Crime Commission in 2007.
  • Named Chairman of SkillsUSA. KC’s largest convention at 15,000.
  • Received Hospitality Leadership award from Hotel Lodging Assoc. in 2008.
  • Named Grand Marshall of Zona Rosa Parade in 2008.
  • Received The Silver Good Citizenship award from the Nat. Society of the Sons of American Revolution in 2008.
  • Received the Arthur M. Tighe award from the Mercedarian Missionaries of Berriz Spain in 2008.
  • Elected President of the Jazz Orchestra in 2008.
  • Received first ever Lifetime Achievement award from Salvation Army in 2008.
  • Received The Spirit of Philanthropy Honoree Award in 2009.
  • Named to the board of the Veterans Hospital in 2010.
  • Named President of the board of trustees of the Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • Named Alumni of the year of the University of Missouri in 2011.
  • Received from the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor in 2011.
  • Grand Marshall of the American Royal Parade in 2011.
  • Employed by Great Plains Trust in 2011.
  • Named President of the Native Sons and Daughters in 2014.
  • Arts Tech Names their Golf Tournament “The Carl J DiCapo” Golf tournament in 2015, the year he received his 40th year award from Arts Tech.
  • Named Trustee of Cleveland University in 2015.

His accolades go on and on, but faith assures us the greatest award awaited him when the Lord greeted him with the words, “Whenever you fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, or visited the sick, you did so for Me.” Condolences may be offered at

Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 3, from 2 – 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist) Catholic Church at 3333 Broadway. The Funeral Mass will also be held there on Thursday, May 4, from 1- 2 p.m. Burial will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery at 7601 Blue Ridge on Thursday, May 4, from 2:30- 3 p.m.

Fountain on Cliff Drive was renamed The Carl J. DiCapo fountain by a resolution of the Kansas City Park Commission in 1993.
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