Gerardo "Jerry" Catena (January 2, 1902–February 2000) was a New York mobster and a top member of the Genovese crime family during the 1950s and 1960s, along with Thomas Eboli, Phillip Lombardo and Michele Miranda.
Early life in Jersey
Catena was born in 1902 in South Orange, New Jersey, and subsequently became familiar with legendary mobsters 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 Charles Luciano and Meyer Lansky during the early 1920s, when the rise of two Mafia Dons named Giuseppe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, began fighting a bloody internal battle called the Castellammarese War.
Joining the Lucianos
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 Genovese. As the time went, and Charles Luciano went to prison and later deportation in the 1940s, Genovese would organize the shooting of the Boss of Luciano crime family, Frank Costello in 1957, which forced Costello to retire. Apparently, Catena is to have rose 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 Strollo, Michele Miranda and Thomas Eboli, and were unofficially running the Genovese crime family.
After the imprisonment of Vito Genovese in 1959, a "Committee/Ruling Panel" was to run the Genovese crime family, which consisted of Catena, Phillip 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 release in 1972, as he moved to 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.