Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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EMILIO JELARDO CARMINE (DUKE) YANNACONE

Emilio Jelardo Carmine (Duke) Yannacone, born March 1, 1936, left this earth to join our Lord on March 29, 2012, after a brief illness.

Emilio was born in East Orange, N.J., to Carmine Yannacone and Elvera Russo Yannacone, both from areas near Naples, Italy. Emilio attended Catholic school in East Orange and graduated in Newark, N.J., from St. Lucy High School.

He joined the Navy and was stationed on the USS Bushnell and assigned to Key West after serving time in the Navy in Virginia and Bayone, N.J., as well as Key West. Also, while aboard the Bushnell, he started his first band, The Stardusters. While in the Navy, he had numerous gigs. Emilio started out playing the accordian as a child, and then ended up teaching himself to play the drums and also vocals. He could also play the piano.

After discharge from the Navy, he had a few jobs in Key West before he joined the Key West Police Department. Emilio and I met in 1963 and he was a detective corporal. We were married in 1965 for the first time. Emilio was a very talented man and not only was a member of the Key West Police Department, he had Dukes Country Time Show on WKWF radio. It was a call-in request country music show that was broadcast on closed circuit TV in Key West. I answered the phones and took the requests for my husband.

In those days on the Key West Police Department, my husband was the highest paid corporal and made only $5,000 a year. So Emilio also decided to stay in the music business with different bands to add to our income. When we were married in 1965, he was playing at the Airport Lounge with Bobby, George and Danny Lastres, working at KWPD and also as a disc jockey at WKWF radio. In fact, we went there on our wedding night; he had to play. At one point, Emilio quit the KWPD and was living in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and playing and doing vocals with Fausto Perroglio. Emilio came back to Key West and began playing with these groups: Coffee and the Cups, The Country Squires, Bud Taylor, Sonny Hindes, Eddie West and many more. Some of the places that he played were Logan's, The Airport Lounge, The Gallery Lounge, The Bamboo Room with Coffee Butler and Bobby Lowe, The Big Fleet and many more. He still stayed in the radio business as well.

Then he rejoined the Key West Police Department under Chief Larry Rodriquez; they remained friends until the end. Emilio had many partners at KWPD: Larry Rodriquez, Ed Brost, William Larkin, Steve Malinowski, the Lastres brothers, and many more too numerous to mention. My Emilio made many memories for all of the folks down in Key West. He was a homicide detective there and had many a story to tell. He was on Inside Edition and other television shows with his cases. Emilio never lost a case bigger than a misdemeanor. Getting older and tiring from all of the middle of the night homicide calls, he went back in uniform. He retired in 1998.

When Emilio retired in 1998, he moved to Port St. Lucie, Fla. He had a brief radio job while in Port St. Lucie. He loved Port St. Lucie as well.

Emilio had heart issues and decided to move closer to family in Bloomingdale, N.J. He then had more heart issues. I never had forgotten him. So, knowing that he needed me, I went to New Jersey and brought him back to Oviedo, Fla., where we were married again.

Emilio still had some major heart issues, but nothing that was supposed to take his life. After a bit, we decided to move back to Key West. I was born there and he loved it so much. After a couple of years of going back and forth to Miami, we moved to Port St. Lucie, where he got stronger and better. Then due to a medicinal issue, he passed very peacefully in his sleep and he always said that was the way he wanted to go.

I loved Emilio from the moment that I saw him and still do.

Emilio leaves behind Patricia, his wife, and their children, Richard, Michael -- of whom he was so proud that he was a pilot -- and Joseph, who proceeded him in death. Duke had children with a previous marriage before Patricia: Emilio, Vincent and Frank, who proceeded him in death, and a twin girl, Laura, who passed a few days after birth. Michael remained very close with his father and called his father every day. Vincent also has remained close to his father.

The remaining members of Emilio's family are: Antoinette Schmidt, sister, and Bob Schmidt, brother-in-law, and their children, Anthony and wife Michele, Michael and Kristin Depuyt and many great-nephews and nieces. His cousin Marie Moglia and husband Fred and their daughter Gina and her husband John Loder and their child Zachary. A cousin John Russo and his sisters.

We miss Emilio so very much and a Mass was celebrated in his name in New Jersey on March 30, 2012. Prayers will be said for him worldwide by the priests for the next five years.

Thank you to those of you who called and sent sympathy cards. It meant a lot to our family. And a special thank-you to Larry and Gwen Rodriquez and Al and Kim Brost for calling every day and keeping us informed.

A Mass will be celebrated in his honor at The Basilica of St. Mary Star of The Sea this Thursday, March 12, at 11 a.m. A Navy honor guard will be present.

We will all miss Duke, as he was known. And our family will miss him very much.