John Sebastian LaRocca was the boss of the Pittsburgh based LaRocca Crime Family from the mid 1950's until his death in 1984.
John Sebastian LaRocca was born in Villarosa, Sicily, in 1901 and moved with his family to the United States around 1910. His family went to live in Pennsylvania where during his early life LaRocca worked as a coal miner.
In 1922 he was arrested for the first time for assault and was sentenced to 3 to 5 years. LaRocca was acquinted with Frank Amato,
a Sicilian gangster who had bacome the Pittsburgh boss since the late 1930's. The family was dealing in illegal gambling, loansharking and extortion, but it wasn't until LaRocca succeeded Amato in 1956 that the Family also became strong in labor unions.
The LaRocca Family was relativly small, with only around 30 members in 1970, but they were closely associated with the New York Genovese Family, the Bufalino Family from Scranton and mainly through Gabriel Mannarino also with the Santo Trafficante Family in Florida. The good relations in Florida may have been a reason why LaRocca bought a summerhouse in Pompana Beach. LaRocca was owner of a couple legal ventures such as a carwash in Pittsburgh.
In 1957 LaRocca attented the Apalachin Meeting with capo's Gabriel Mannarino and Michael Genovese, a nephew of New York boss Vito Genovese. Also Rochester fraction leaders Costenze and Frank Valenti, who were both made members of the LaRocca family, were present.
Like most of the attendants also LaRocca was arrested after the police raided the place, but it didn't lead to any convictions in particular.
Although the Crime Committee identified LaRocca as a Maffiaboss he remained untouched by the law. As he was aging his failing health however kept him off the streets, until he died at home in 1984. He was succeeded by Michael Genovese. His son, John LaRocca Jr., remained an influence in the Teamsters labor union in Pittsburgh.
(Source: "Figure in Pennsylvania Crime Dies at 82 in his bed at home" NYtimes December 5, 1984; www.post-gazette.com)