Chicago O’Hare International Airport is named for a World War II hero who may never have risen to fame without help from his father—help that ended with the elder O’Hare running afoul of Al Capone and the mob.
A native of St. Louis, O’Hare was an entrepreneur looking to expand his business interests outside of his home city. His interest landed on Chicago and greyhound racing. He eventually bought the rights to a game-changing patent—the mechanical rabbit. At that time, doing any kind of business in Chicago—especially business in gambling—meant going through Al Capone. It wasn’t long before O’Hare and his mob partners were operating racetracks across the country and making tons of money. All good things must come to pass, though, and it was about this time that federal agents were looking for any way they could find to put an end to Capone’s business.
On November 8, 1939, O’Hare returned home from one of his tracks and wasshot and killed by several men in a car that had been driving alongside him. The men were never identified, and the murder has never been solved.
There are some pretty incredible suspicions about what happened, though.
He had high hopes for his son, the future hero of World War II. But in order to get into the elite echelons of the United States Naval Academy, he needed to be nominated by someone pretty high up, and it’s thought that the elder O’Hare secured his son’s nomination to the Academy by ratting on Al Capone. According to O’Hare’s granddaughter, her grandfather started carrying a gunnot long before he was killed, and he had stopped spending time with his family. In retrospect, she’s sure that he feared for their lives.