A lifetime underground should earn honor according to local woman

Dominic Capogreco
Dominic Capogreco
A lifetime underground should earn honor according to local woman
By: Arnold Wyrick
ROYALTON, Ill. - When Dominic Capogreco was just 14 years of age he boarded a boat in Italy and headed towards the United States.  The year was 1895.  Once he arrived he settled in Williamson County near the town of Royalton.
In 1911 Capogreco went to work in the coal mines of southern Illinois. "The mines was his life.  He loved the workers, and he loved the coal mines that was his second life," says Lois Capogreco his daughter-in-law of Royalton.
Dominic's love for being underground lasted longer then any other miner in our nations history, 57 years of swinging a pick-ax into rock looking for a piece of black gold.  And he only missed two days of work in all that time. "One because he had a broken shoulder and one because he had a broken foot where the rock fell on him.  He missed those days.  But, then he went right back to the work the next day," Lois said.
And when he wasn't underground, Lois says he worked the soil around the house nurturing his garden. "He canned, and he loved to cook.  He was a real good cook.  I can still smell that Italian food cooking when you'd pull off the road heading towards his house.  You could smell it a quarter-of-a-mile away," Lois said.
Dominic raised his four sons after divorcing his wife, all the time working nights in the coal mines.
Dominic celebrated his 85th birthday with family, friends and fellow coal miners.  He died three years later in 1983, at the age of 88.  Now his daughter-in-law would like to see him memorialized in the new Southern Illinois Miners ball park in Marion, Illinois. "Because he come here and worked the mines in Williamson County.  And he worked at the ball fields here in the county.  I've spoken with the Simmons family about putting up something at the stadium to honor his time as a miner.  But I haven't heard back from them yet if they're going to do it," Lois said.