Angelo Mistretta Biography
February 13, 2010
I was born on February 16, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois at home by a mid-wife. My address was 560 West Gilpin Street (now called Cabrini Street). My siblings are as follows: Margaret (Maggie), Bella, Josephine, Salvatore (Sammy), & Jennie.
My parents came to Chicago in 1912, both are from Caltanisetta, Sicily.
At the age of 8 my brother and I sold newspapers on Canal and Madison Street. I began to shine shoes at the age of 10 along Madison Street in the skid-row area this lasted until the age of 13.
We moved to 760 West Taylor Street around 1936. For the first time we had electricity and inside plumbing.
I graduated from Guardian Angel School in 1938. I have in my possession a photo of the1938 graduating class. I enrolled at St. Patrick Academy and quit high school after 1 ½ years. My work period consisted of dish washer and other menial jobs until I was drafted, in 1943, at the age of 18. I survived WWII. After being discharged I worked with my brother in the bar business. At the age of 23 I decided to get an education and went to St. Patrick’s to get a letter from the principal so that I would be able to take the G.E.D. exam. The principal refused however I persisted and he subsequently relented. This principal was the cause why I quit high school as you can see we were not on friendly terms. I purchased a book took the test and passed.
During my teen years I went to Hull House frequently and during the summer my family went to the Bowen Country Club.
I enrolled at Wright Jr. College in 1948. In 1950 I attended Valparaiso University Law School and graduated in 1953. I was in private practice for a short while. In 1957/58 I was an assistant Attorney General for Illinois.
On April 16, 1979 I became an Associate Judge. In 1984 I was elected as a full Circuit Court Judge. I retired in 1993. Since my retirement I am involved in Arbitration/Mediation matters.
From 1958 to 1979, I had my own law firm.
Aside: An introductory speech honoring Angelo is also included in this section of the Taylor Street Archives. The photo section has pictures of the gang he hung with on Taylor Street during the 30s and the 40s before he was drafted in 1943.
Epilogue: Angelo Dominic Mistretta died April 11, 2011. The son of immigrant parents, and one of the numerous high school drop-outs of his era, Angelo Mistretta defied our sociological soothsayers and achieved his share of the American dream.
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