Daniel Richard "The Duce" Narducy
Narducy, Daniel Richard "The Duce" At 11:11 on April 11, 1953, a Chicago original was born. Little Daniel R. aka Rex Narducy came home to 3634 S. Union and the world was never quite the same. His parents made Dan pay his way through a parochial education by stocking shelves at his grandfather's candy store at the corner of Emerald and 36th Streets and mopping up at De La Salle Academy. He was an avid reader, but hard as he tried, Dan couldn't fully vanquish the tedium of school, where the nuns pronounced him possessed for (among other things) his irrepressible roaring laughter, inappropriate attire (what were then only available at Sears as "dungarees"), and for bringing the Who's first album to Music Appreciation class. When it wasn't in use for betting, 3634 Union was also home to Duke's basement, where many a first kiss was had and discussed. Even as a baby, Dan was as one with The Music. His mother kept a radio in his crib because "it always shut him up right away." Dan went to every concert he could, from Elvis at the Stadium, to Jimi Hendrix at the Amphitheater. Dan's jailbreak from Bridgeport followed his high school graduation, and he worked as a driver for Hayes Mechanical and Dodge Chicago, riding the EL at 5 a.m. each weekday from the far-North Side apartment he shared with his childhood sweetheart Sofia. Dan broke out of the nine-to-five and into a wacky Rock 'n' Roll Life working as a Bouncer at La Mere Vipere, Chicago's infamous first punk discotheque which burned to the ground after just a few months of disturbing the neighbors, including the nuns who still live across Halsted Street. Once La Mere was gone but never forgotten, its migrants quickly relocated to several bars and live-music venues from which a vibrant local scene emerged, launching the careers of such bands as the Smashing Pumpkins, Waco Brothers, Nicholas Tremulis, Ministry, B.B. Spin, and Heavy Manners. Dan was never without some stray animal who had followed him home. Feline Pieter had raced the hallways, climbed the curtains, and knocked down objects from every surface of The Rockpile, the house at Racine and Wellington Dan shared with John Molini and Ray Shanahan. Pieter quickly grew fat and happy with Sofia after the landlord's hand was forced by the End of The World Party, which brought in a wild throng straight from Navy Pier, where Cheap Trick had just played Chicagofest, the City's first open-air music and food extravaganza from which a nascent Taste of Chicago sprung. Nothing escaped Dan's observant gaze, whether a hundred-dollar bill in the middle of Clark street in a New Year's Eve snowstorm, or an ad for the Penthouse of the historic apartment hotel at Diversey and Racine (The Nuclear Arms), which ran just days before the Sheriff arrived at the Rockpile. Dan lorded over his domain ("I run it, rule it, own it!") from his Nuke Arms corner studio, leaping up from the couch only to rush to his bedside window to get a straight, clear view to Comiskey Park, where fireworks marked every home run. Dan had been working as a stagehand for JAM Productions for several years when he got the chance to work full-time at the Park West. He kept working other venues' shows while being the P-Dubs' Mr. Everything, serving as stagehand, sound-and-light deputy, DJ, and caterer to the numerous eye-popping headliners that made the early 80's a musical era unto itself. Musicians and stage crews from around the world would arrive at the hall having already heard about Dan's professionalism and patience, which seemingly was tested daily, whether by the Peyton Place comings-and-goings at the club or having to hold up with one hand a PA stack during one Specials show where the crowd's frenetic dancing caused its wheel locks to slip. And the talent often returned the favor, as James Brown did after two sweaty sets, staying afterward to set his hair for a picture with Dan, who had insisted that James play the Park West for a series of unforgettable performances. The Godfather's late-night snapshot with Dan and Gregg, whose work on the sound board made that particular night live forever, can be viewed with others at Dan's website, address to be announced. Things change and people move on, but Dan continued to work shows while Bouncing at Cassidy's and the Wrigleyville Tap, later working full-time on the reconstruction & maintenance of the historic Riviera Theater. Congestive heart failure on Christmas Eve of 2000 only slowed Dan down somewhat until his kidneys failed, forcing him to stop pushing cases around and let the "young pups" do the hard work. He admonished many a novice to "slow down, don't hurt yourself," and insisted that everyone wear gloves, the stagehand's seatbelt. When he wasn't working, Dan played guitar and wrote his own songs, performing them only for "certain people." A rampant sports fan, the only thing that could have brought Dan more joy than the Bears' Super Bowl season and the Mighty Bulls' Six Peat, is the White Sox' current season, which has proven to be the best ever in baseball history. Having finally been set free on Cinco de Mayo, Dan now has a perfect seat for every game. Dan was predeceased by his dog Moses and by his parents Joyce and Leo Narducy ("the Bard of Bridgeport"). He is survived by his niece, Amber Rogers, a sister and brother (Celine, Eugene), his beloved friend Leslie Matlaw, and by numerous professional colleagues who remember him as a devoted kinsman, patient mentor, always-reliable troubleshooter, and raconteur extraordinaire. Upon learning of Dan's passing, his comrade Jolly Roger echoed the Just Guys Association's sentiments with a classic Dan-ism: "it'll all be malfanktin'd now without the Duce." Dan considered 18-hour days and splitting headaches to be small prices to pay; even after 27 years, he still couldn't get over the fact that his life's "work" was listening to live music and getting paid for it. The one thing Dan never did was go out on the Road, no matter how lean times got in the off-seasons. He just wouldn't leave Chicago, even for a brief visit to New Orleans, despite years of nagging. He'd never actually seen one, so a second-line funeral just wouldn't make sense for Dan; instead, his friends are asked to honor him with their stories at a not-exactly-formal Memorial on Thursday, May 12th at 4 p.m., contact [email protected] for details.
Published by Chicago Sun-Times on May 9, 2005.
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40 Entries
Wishing you were here .. .
November 22, 2018
I miss you so much, every day, Dan. Remembering more than a few Thanksgivings on Union. You changed the whole world. Thankful for our time together. Love Always.
November 22, 2018
Leslie Matlaw
January 25, 2018
Here comes the Longest Night of the Year again. I'd give the rest of my life for just one more moment with you. Until eternity, Baby.

Leslie Matlaw
December 21, 2016
It never stops when you've loved and lost the Best Man Ever. Miss you so much, Mi Amor.
May 5, 2016
I never met Dan, but I know we would have been good friends if we ever met. After reading this, and knowing how much Celine misses him and talks about him, I feel I do know him a little. God Bless your soul brother!
Daniel Prendergast
May 5, 2015
sorry for your loss//respectively (friend of celine) dale rogers
dale rogers
May 4, 2015
December 20, 2014
Showing the love . . . until we are reunited.
John.Molini & Michael.Reed
December 19, 2014
Sweetie, I'm thinking of You (as usual ;)
June 24, 2014
It has been awhile.. I still think of you Danny and miss you.. Joni
June 10, 2013
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
WH Auden
May 5, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2013 and I'm thinking about you, as always. Dan, you were one in a million -- everyone else pales by comparison, though James Brown was a close second! Finally found that "Thanks, Dan" picture from The Godfather + a couple more so I'm posting them here today. Lots of Love, Sweetie
Leslie Matlaw
March 31, 2013
March 31, 2013
Darling, seven years ago we rejoiced that you were finally at the top of the list for that new kidney. How hopeful and relieved we were savoring tapas for 2005 New Year's Day Brunch. My heart broke when just a few days later we couldn't even say Goodbye. Amber, Gene, and every one of us were devastated not to be able to hear your voice, recognize your gaze, or feel your spirit as you clung to this world. I tried my very best, Dan, but Life had other plans, leaving only the hope that you are now at peace. Still missing you so much, as I will always, my One in a Million.
January 3, 2013
November 26, 2011
Oh for Goodness sakes, I just signed someone else's book by accident. Must have been the 11:11 spell you cast upon me. Still Missing You So Much, Dan. This #5 has been really hard. Now I've gotta hose off and creak my way over to the 15th Annual O'Banion's Reunion but it's just not the same without you, You, and Only You. Or without RoseAnn, we're missing her bunches, too. Sending You So Much Love, Sweetheart. Always, Your One
May 30, 2010
Baby, I get other-directed but there is not a day that goes by that I don't Thank God for you changing my life in every way since we met on my 18th Birthday. Love love loved your VD gift that dropped out of the sky this year when I was missing you so. Among your many exceptional qualities were innate brilliance, mega-fun attitude (yet coupled with True Grit and Exceptional Prudence -- not immediately apparent to the unseeing). So grateful for you hooking me back up with the old gang, and for your little missives (like sending John my way to remind me of your "ways" and constant spooky reminders like that license plate the other day). Unforgettable -- that's what You are. My One. Love Always, Your One.
Leslie Matlaw
February 23, 2009
Baby, I Love You So and think of you every single day, even if I forget what day it is! Even when I'm temporally challenged, I'll always be here for you as you were for me. Wish you were Right Here right now -- Land of the Midnite Sun reminds me of You ! ! ! Had some Lettuce Soup & (you guessed it) New Potatoes on this trip. Keep on sending the Rainbows & Fireworks, you know I need 'em Daily! LoveLoveLove, Your Highness -- Lowly Vassal (wait - who's who? ;)
Leslie Matlaw
June 12, 2006
June 14, 2005
Thanks, Dan, for a lifetime's worth of memories. You always were & will always be in my heart. Shine on you crazy diamond...
Mel Halloran
June 5, 2005
My heart is heavy with sadness in learning of Dan's passing. Gene and Celine, my thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you, Dan for the basement music nights with friends when we were teens.

Bridgeport native, {35th and Union} Nativity class of '69
Kathi Lessner (now Schafer)
May 25, 2005
Eugene, Celine and Family,

I was saddened to hear the news that Danny had passed away.
I have fond childhood memories of all of us together. Although, we each went in our own direction, and lost touch throughout the years, we still remember those fine days. Danny, you will be missed!
My sincerest condolences to all of you.

Love, Punkin
K. Ryan
May 12, 2005
this is one heck of a way to find dan, sad he has passed, ecstatic that i was his fast friend in the late 60's. we were teammates on a cyo bball team in bridgeport and pretty inseparable for a few years. my mom said he was a bad influence so i knew he was so cool. to this day i listen to music while i jog he insisted i get into. his wit, humor and ability to make a nothing day a happening are missed daily. we called him duke instead of duce but that was dan, always something new and exciting, peace man, john
john hausfeld
May 11, 2005
I can see Daniel waving goodbye.... God it looks like Daniel... Must be the clouds in my eyes.. Elton John 10/20/1992. I will always remember you Danny you gave me alot of good memories. Love,Joni xoxoxo
Joan Narkis , Romiti
May 11, 2005
To 'Gene' and Celine, my sympathy to you on the loss of your brother.
Terry Shinnick
May 11, 2005
Hey Danny,

Thanks for all the Iggy shows and for being such a great friend. I always new I was safe when you were around. Peace to you. See you in my dreams...
Nancy Rapchak
May 11, 2005
Eugene, Celine & Amber, and Leslie. Our deepest sympathies to all of you. Being an "almost cousin" I have known Danny since we were children. Leo and Joyce were such good friends of my parents, as well as Uncle Miles and Aunt Stella. Living on Union, I used to see Danny walking to visit his Mom when she lived on Union. My sister-in-law, Gerri Lovell, was best friends with Joyce. She sends along her fondest memories of Danny from years gone by. I hope you know that Dan is in a better place as he joins his parents and grandparents. God's love be with you at this difficult time. Love, Jim and Betty Lovell
Betty Lovell
May 10, 2005
We will never forget some of those late nights and great stories at the P.W. You will truly be missed.
Mike & Kathy Hill
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
Here's a toast to one of the good guys--Danny Narducy! A lot of great late 70s memories flying through my mind today. . .I'll see you on the other side, brother. . .Rick Faust
Rick Faust
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
I'd do anything -- For you, Dear -- Anything. And you did Everything for me. I love you, Honey, the real kind. I'll see you up there if I don't make too many boo-boos along the way! xoxoxoxo Joni
Leslie Matlaw
May 10, 2005
I have never ever had more fun with anyone in by entire life! I will miss you and never forget our time together! Gregg(JGA)
Gregg Kincaid
May 9, 2005
Eugene,Celine and Amber,

Please accept our deepest sympathy for Dan's passing.

Don, Lorraine and family
May 9, 2005
Duce, We sure did enjoy each others company didn't we. Save me a seat at the bar up there.

Tracey Dear
May 9, 2005
Learned that Danny was always the strange one,and the clone of Uncle Leo!And as always missed another family funeral.
See you later.
Miles,Carol,& Miles 111
Miles Narducy Jr.
May 9, 2005
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