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Jack Guzik's mugs
John "Jack" Guzik, Jake Gusick, Greasy thumb.
Born March 20,1886, in Russia.
Died February 21,1956 at age 69.
He was the son of Max Guzik and Mamie Zeitlin.
Probably the only man Al Capone really ever trusted. These words were at one time uttered by Al Capone himself.
While his brothers delved into the flesh peddling business, Jack took a liking to numbers and payoffs. His nickname "Greasy thumb", was the result of him proverbially greasing the wheels (throwing money bribes) at many an official who tried to put a halt to Capone's organization.
These mugs were once misrepresented as being Jake's and Rose's wedding mugs. This is not the case. They are souvenir mugs probably from some tourist trap that were made either to commemorate their second wedding anniversary or of a trip taken together. The Guziks were married on April 13,1907 in Lake County, Indiana. These mugs are dated 1909. On one side is the photos of monk like men, one drinking and the other smelling flowers.
(Mario Gomes collection)
In his later years, Jack would hold court in St.Hubert's grill chatting with gamblers and politicians alike.
At one time Jack was called the Little Mayor of Cicero. Jack had also been in 10th place for the 1930 Public Enemies list.
His beginnings were in prostitution, along with his brothers Sam and Harry. He slowly moved on to gambling operations in the Suburbs, then into the Loop as he climbed in stature in gangland's hierarchy.
Capone liked Guzik and the feeling was mutual. Guzik admired the toughness Capone had which he himself lacked and in turn, Capone admired the intelligence for figures Jack had.
Both working under Torrio, Capone had shown his friend the loyalty he had toward him. SEE JOE HOWARD
Guzik made Torrio, and then Capone both very rich. Guzik never carried a gun and never needed to. He was well protected and respected for his image of the goose that could lay golden eggs for gang members. A big misconception is that all Jewish gangsters were weak and only good with numbers. The reality is not so, examples such as Samuel Morton, Hirchie Miller, Ben Siegel, Louis Buchalter, Jack Zelig and other real Jewish toughs readily disprove this unfounded theory. Murder Inc. also comes readily to mind.
Jack and Rose Guzik 1909
(Mario Gomes collection)
The family had immigrated from Russia. Most certainly having passed through Lady Liberty, they eventually settled in Chicago. The family was claiming in the 1910 census to be running a cigar store, owned by Max Guzik, the patriarch. Jack in 1910, had been married 3 years and was still living with his mom and dad. Jack's wife Rose Lipschultz, along with their daughter Jeanette and son Charles were also living under the same roof. Jack had three sisters and three brothers which made living under one roof kind of tight.
As Jack's benefit's from prostitution and gambling multiplied, he finally left his father's home. At the time of his death, he had various lodgings such as a couple of hotel rooms and two apartments. The police where constantly harrassing Jack in later years. Ricca and Accardo still employed Jack, but were sure to keep his reins of influence pulled back a notch. Jake had been becoming a tad too powerful by having stakes in too many profitable ventures for the mobs liking. In 1944 Jack mysteriously disappeared for two days. Rumors had it that he had been kidnapped. He resurfaced claiming it was a business trip. His top control was in racetracks and it's racing wires.
Jack dies on February 21,1956, from a coronary occlusion brought on by years of heart disease. At the time of his death, he is living under the name of Jack Arnold at 5492 Everett avenue. Jack and Rose also had an apartment at 7240 Luella avenue.
His body was laid out at 2921 Harlem in Berwyn.
400 people had passed Jack's modestly priced copper casket for their last respects. Jack was wearing his trademark business suit.
Most notably seen were Jack's family, along with his adopted son Stephen, Tony Accardo, Matt Capone, alderman John D'Arco. Others in attendance were Michael Brodkin, George Beiber (his lawyer), George Crane, Albert Frabotta and slot king Eddie Vogel.
" I don't believe Al Capone is operating here. He is as nutty as a cuckoo. He can't walk a mile without someone leading him. At least that's what I hear. Isn't that what you people hear?"
-- Jack Guzik May 2, 1946.
At the time of Jake's death, Rose was in Arizona. Their son Charles was in hot water over there and doing time convicted of molestation and having sex with minor boys. He was arrested many times.
Police found photographic equipment and under aged porn in his possession. Some victims began to talk. He got a life sentence for this deviate lifestyle and became the shame of his family.The path his son chose probably had an affect on Jack's declining health.
Rose Guzik later sues the authorities, blaming them for undue harrassment towards Jack, which she claimed hastened his heart attack and early death.
Rose Guzik passes away June 1976.
The Guzik - Garnett monument
(Photo courtesy of Joe Walters)
Jack Guzik headstone in Oakwoods cemetary
(Photo courtesy of Joe Walters)
First Posted June 2008