LaMorte, Donald Anthony
Donald Anthony LaMorte, 84, a onetime fixture in the Chicago restaurant scene, passed away on August 22. Born in 1936 in Blue Island, Il. to Mary (De Peso) and Daniel, a bootlegger-turned-tavern owner, Don grew up working in his parents Roseland establishment, before establishing a successful, colorful career as a restaurant manager and proprietor, and as a beloved bartender at one of Chicago’s mosticonic restaurants. In 1956, after leaving the army, where he served as a cook, paratrooper and radio repairman, Don began tending bar at Ken & Dicks in Roseland and later at Le Pub in Lincoln Park. After briefly opening his own pizzeria in Hopkins, Minn., he returned to Chicago to manage such popular restaurants as Station JBD and TJ’s in Hyde Park, and Lorenzetti’s in East Hazel Crest, Il. He married Margaret LaMorte (Cummings), a mother of three, in 1965. Together, they had two children before separating in 1970. Don once again began tending bar in the late 1980s, first at Artie G’s, an Italian spot in a River North hotel, before moving to Gibson’s in the Gold Coast, where he worked for 16 years until retiring in 2006. In his free time, he enjoyed golf, horseracing, jazz, Frank Sinatra, Agatha Christie mysteries, and the Chicago White Sox. He is survived by his sons Ronald of Pflugerville, Tex., Daniel of Crete, Il., Jeffrey of Lake Park, Fl., and Christopher of Chicago, and daughter, Gianna of Austin, Tex., brother John LaMorte of Arizona, nieces Jody LaMorte and Stacy Gerkin, many grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. A private service will be held August 25 at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Alsip.
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