THE LITTLE KNOWN OTHER ENDING OF JOE VALACHI
John William Tuohy
There is an odd twist to the ending of Joe Valachi, the New York hood who ratted out the American Mafia before live televised hearing in Washington DC.
Marie Jackson was born Marie Murray was born and raised in Niagara Falls and was working as a sales clerk in a men’s store when she met her future husband. The marriage lasted only three years.
Around the time of her divorce she met Valachi at a house party of a mutual friend in Niagara Falls. With time, he started to visit her regularly and paid her rent and for her shopping excursions to Manhattan.
When Valachi was arrested on his 1960 narcotics trafficking charge and sent to prison, the relationship continued through the mails. "Miss Jackson's letters lifted his spirits," Valachi’s biographer Peter Maas told The New York Times. "When she would not write for a while, he would go back into depression and accuse the Justice Department of holding her letters." Jackson sent Valachi money and gift boxes as well.
In the meantime, Jackson took a job in an adult bookstore to make ends meet "It didn't bother me working there," she said "The money was good." And it also financed her trips to Texas to visit Valachi who was in LaTuna prison by then.
After Valachi died his body went unclaimed for two weeks by his estranged wife, Mildred, and son Donald. However, Jackson paid and had the body shipped to Lewiston and buried Valachi under his-and-hers gravestones in a burial plots at Gate of Heaven.
A rumor spread that it was actually the FBI that paid to have the body shipped to Buffalo as a means of harassing powerful Buffalo Mafia boss Magaddino.
When Valachi’s will was probated it was learned that his royalties from the Maas book amounted to about $30,000, most of it spent by Valachi, however the next year, the book became was turned into a smash film that grossed over $20 million in worldwide release, a very large figure at that time, and Jackson's share of the royalties from the books went gold. "I got a lot of money from the book," she told a reporter.
(Most of Valachi’s money was escrowed by the U.S. government to meet back-tax obligations; some of the remaining money was converted into bonds was sent to Valachi’s ex-wife, Mildred.)
Marie Jackson died in 1999 and lies buried next to Joe.