James J. "Jimmy" Bracco was one of those guys that many locals knew, from his days at working at Ryan's Pub when it was a major night spot to Dunning's, where he "held court" after becoming disabled in recent years.
Mr. Bracco died Monday, Jan. 7, at the age of 77.
"Jimmy was well-known throughout the East End by three generations ... as a bartender, raconteur and sidekick of the law-enforcement Conn brothers (Ronnie and Jimmy)," says Bill McCloskey, a writer and editor from Swissvale.
He knew them all—lawyers, cops, bar people, sports bettors and waitresses. He was dubbed the "the Mayor of Regent Square."
"In his prime, he was a tough guy with a soft heart who would help people out when they were short, needed an alibi, needed a job, or many of the other things an old-school, rabbi-style bartender would do," McCloskey recalls. "Along South Braddock, between Forbes and Sanders, it's fair to say 'everybody' knew him and many owed him for introductions to wives and girlfriends, political secrets and bartending savvy."
Bracco was born on Nov. 29, 1935. He was preceded in death by his parents, Nicholas and Angeline (D'Imperio) Bracco; his twin brother, Nicholas Jr.; and his stepfather, Alan D'Imperio. He is survived by his brothers, Victor, Alan Jr. and Donald D'Imperio; and was uncle to Shawn McChesney and Maggie McChesney.
Friends will be received Friday only from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home Inc., 7441 Washington St., Swissvale, where a blessing service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. (For more information, visit www.niedfuneralhome.com.)
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