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Gerardo "Jerry" Catena (January 2, 1902 – 2000) was a New York mobster and a top member of the Genovese crime family during the 1950s and 1960s, along with Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli, Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo and Michael "Big Mike" Miranda.
Early life in Jersey
Catena was born in 1902 in South Orange, New Jersey, and subsequently became familiar with legendary mobsters Guarino "Willie" Moretti, Thomas Greco, Cosmo "Gus" Frasca, and Abner "Longy" Zwillman in the early 1910s. Later, it has been confirmed that Catena moved to New York City to join the forces of Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky during the early 1920s, when the rise of two Mafia dons named Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, began fighting a bloody internal battle called the Castellammarese War.
Joining the Lucianos
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Little is known of Catena in his early days of the Luciano crime family, but reportedly he was a soldier in the crew that became the powerful Genovese crew during the late 1920s, headed by later underboss Vito "Don Vito" Genovese. As the time passed, and Charles Luciano went to prison and later deportation in the 1940s, Genovese organized the shooting of the boss of the Luciano crime family, Frank Costello, in 1957, which forced Costello to retire. Apparently, Catena is to have risen through the ranks, as he was listed as the underboss in the late 1950s, heading the New Jersey faction of the Genovese crime family, under the leadership of Vito Genovese.
Catena was allegedly attending the so-called Apalachin Meeting in 1957, and was one of the hundred mafiosi who were indicted after the convention, following the arrest of Vito Genovese in 1959. As Genovese and many others of the Genovese crime family were under indictment, Catena began cooperating with longtime captains Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo, Michele "Big Mike" Miranda and Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli, and were unofficially running the Genovese crime family.
After the imprisonment of Genovese in 1959, a "Committee/Ruling Panel" was to run the Genovese crime family, which consisted of Catena, Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo, Thomas Eboli and Michele Miranda. This administration continued to run the family throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, as Catena was indicted in 1970, and jailed from 1971 to 1972.
Retirement and death
After his incarceration, Catena was allegedly semi-retired due to illness, and became officially retired after his releasement in 1972, as he moved to Boca Raton, Florida that same year. Gerardo Catena died in 2000 of natural causes, as he wasn't named in any indictments for almost 30 years, and died in retirement at the age of 98. .
- Bernstein, Lee. The Greatest Menace: Organized Crime in Cold War America. Boston: Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55849-345-X
- Lamothe, Lee and Antonio Nicaso. Bloodlines: The Rise and Fall of the Mafia's Royal Family. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-00-638524-9
- Peterson, Robert W. Crime & the American Response. New York: Facts on File, 1973. ISBN 0-87196-227-6
- Raab, Selwyn. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. ISBN 0-312-30094-8
- Reppetto, Thomas. American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2004. ISBN 0-8050-7798-7
- Sterling, Claire. Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia. New York: Simon & Schuster (Touchstone Edition), 1991.
- United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Profile On Organized Crime Mid-Atlantic Region. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1983. 
- Pennsylvania Crime Commission: 1984 Report. St. Davids, Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing, 1984. ISBN 0-8182-0000-6 
|Genovese crime family
Carmine "Little Eli" Zeccardi