The life story of Frank Sheeran, nicknamed "The Irishman" — a man who killed for friendshipBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/the-life-story-of-frank-sheeran-nicknamed-the-irishman-a-man-who-killed-for-friendship.html
Everyone knows what trade unions are and why these organizations exist. But few people know that not everywhere trade unions were formal organizations, and were engaged in collecting contributions and distributing vouchers to sanatoriums. In the USA, these were close-knit and active collectives that forced employers to reckon with themselves, if not by legal means, then by force. In America, the history of the trade union movement is inextricably linked with the Italian mafia and its only non—Italian member - Frank Sheeran, nicknamed "The Irishman".
To be fair, it should be noted that Frank has never been a real member of the Italian mafia Bufalino family. But this did not prevent him from being a person especially close to Don Rosario Alberto Bufalino (Russell Bufalino) and even his friend. At the request of his comrade, Sheeran committed at least 30 murders, none of which could be proved.
Frank Sheeran was born in Camden, New Jersey, in a family of immigrants. Despite the fact that all his life he considered himself a pure-blooded Irishman, which he was very proud of, this was not quite true. The father of the future trade unionist and part—time mafia was Irish, but the mother was Swedish.
Sheeran's childhood can hardly be called serene — because of the extreme poverty of his family. When the Sheerans moved to the small working-class town of Derby, Pennsylvania, Frank had to get a job. At that time, the boy was only 7 years old, but even then he was a very difficult child. On the way home from work, the young Irishman masterfully went into grocery stores to steal something there for a family dinner.
Frank was distinguished not only by his simple attitude to other people's property, but also by his violent temper. The boy's father, like any Irishman, adored whiskey, beer and boxing, and was not averse to practicing on his son and wife while drinking. The constant blows from the father of the drinkers hardened Frank mentally and physically and his peers preferred not to mess with him.
Sheeran succeeded in his Scandinavian ancestors on his mother's side and already at the age of 15 had a height of two meters. The young man's father had to moderate his ardor in domestic fights, as he began to receive quite a serious rebuff. Despite his powerful physique, the young man had no craving for physical labor and Sheeran's first adult workplace was... a local church.
The tall, broad-shouldered bully got a job as an acolyte in the temple and faithfully performed his duties until he felt a hereditary craving for booze. One day, while cleaning up after another church service, Frank decided to take a sip of church wine and accidentally drank a month's supply of this important product. Of course, after that he could not continue to perform his duties and was left without a job.
By the age of 20, it became obvious that prison was crying for Frank and his parents persuaded the guy to join the army. The big guy was assigned to the military police, but after the outbreak of World War II, Sheeran began to rush to the front and his request was granted.
Frank liked the military craft and at the front he was eager to go to the most difficult places and volunteered to perform the most risky tasks. FBI investigators, who, as needed, studied the biography of this young man in detail, found that Sheeran spent 411 days on the battlefield during his service, instead of the average 100 days for an American soldier.
Frank visited the Ardennes, Sicily and France, and everywhere he showed unparalleled courage and not always justified cruelty. The guy gladly volunteered to work in firing squads and was ruthless to prisoners of war. Several times Sheeran was noticed for the unauthorized murder of concentration camp guards, but he always got away with it.
By the end of the war, Frank had many awards and an ambiguous reputation, forcing even his colleagues and some commanders to shun him. In his declining years, the man admitted that the opportunity to kill with impunity, which he received at the front, just determined his future life.
The guy returned home in the fall of 1945, but the war remained in him forever. Life in a peaceful society, with its many limitations, was not for Frank. He was delayed by booze and ended up with a man in a drunken stupor beating a policeman. At that time, Frank was lucky and he got off with a fine, but the beginning of the confrontation with the law was laid.
In 1947, Sheeran got married and found a job as a truck driver. Most of the employees of his company were Italians, but this quickly ceased to embarrass everyone — Frank stole cargo and drove as fast as his colleagues and was quickly recognized as his own. He joined the drivers' union "International Brotherhood of Carriers" and became an active member of it. A little later, the Irishman wanted to become the boss of this organization and his new friends helped him.
Italian colleagues introduced Frank to Russell Bufalino, the don of one of the mafia Sicilian families. An experienced mafia boss immediately realized that he was not only physically strong and desperate, but also a very smart guy. Surprisingly, Sheeran, not being an Italian, found himself in the godfather's inner circle and became not only his subordinate, but also a friend.
The new member of Cosa Nostra, nicknamed "The Irishman", never asked unnecessary questions. If the Bufalino family decided to eliminate someone, he went and performed this task without specifying details. Thanks to this, Sheeran earned a high reputation in the mafia and was soon promoted.
Frank once told his boss that he dreamed of becoming a union leader, and this completely coincided with the wishes of Russell Bufalino, who dreamed of gaining additional leverage over representatives of big business in Pennsylvania.
At that time, the International Brotherhood of Carriers trade union was headed by Jimmy Hoffa, a man who was also not too friendly with the law. It is not known whether this figure was happy with the deputy imposed on him by the mafia, but he had to put up with it. Moreover, the mighty and aggressive Sheeran was the best suited to pacify disgruntled union members, who were always enough among the drivers.
The killer Sheeran made a good career for himself at the union work, heading the 326th branch of the International Brotherhood of Carriers in Delaware. At the peak of Frank's success, Jimmy Hoff gets caught up in a corruption scandal and is sent to prison for 13 years. However, he served only 5 of them, after which he again tried, contrary to the law, to take up a leadership position in the trade union again.
Hoff managed to get $2 million compensation from his organization for his time in prison, but he could not return to his chair. On April 30, 1975, 62-year-old Jimmy Hoffa called his wife from a pay phone located in one of Detroit's restaurant parking lots in Bloomfield Township.
In an agitated voice, the man told his wife that he had been deceived, but did not finish his story and hung up. No one else heard from Hoffa — he disappeared without a trace. The police managed to find Jimmy's car, but there were no tracks in it that would help the search.
According to an unofficial version, Frank Shirano killed a former trade unionist, who lured him to one of the private houses in the suburbs of Detroit, where he shot him with two shots to the head. But the FBI denies this hypothesis, since at the time of Hoff's disappearance, the "Irishman" was on behalf of Russell Bufalino in Philadelphia.
But no matter how things stand, no one can deny the involvement of the mafia in the death of a trade union businessman. And this means that the closest associate of Hoffa and Bufalino could not have had nothing to do with this. Despite the trail of blood that followed Sheeran for decades, he was never able to be charged with any murder.
Already at a rather old age, Frank, traditionally for a trade unionist in the United States, was accused of corruption and fraud. He received a considerable sentence — 32 years, but served only 10 years behind bars. Sheeran ended his life not quite normally for a mafia — he was not killed and did not rot behind bars, but died in a nursing home near Philadelphia, from cancer at the age of 83. The legendary killer and friend of the mafia don has never been legally responsible for his crimes.