OBITUARY

Tony DeMarco

January 14, 1932October 11, 2021
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Beloved Boston icon Tony DeMarco, Boxing Hall of Famer, and former undisputed Welterweight Champion of the World, “The Flame and Fury of Fleet Street,” passed away of natural causes on October 11, 2021at the age of 89. DeMarco captured the hearts of Massachusetts boxing fans and proud Italians all over the country on April 1, 1955, by knocking out Welterweight Champ Johnny Saxon in front of a delirious crowd at the Boston Garden, just blocks from his home on Fleet Street in Boston’s North End.

Born Leonardo Liotta, he “borrowed” the name Tony DeMarco from an older friend so he could box professionally, because at 15 years old, Leonardo was not eligible. By showing his friend’s baptismal certificate as proof of age, Leonardo was able to get his boxing license, and from that point on he was known as Tony DeMarco.

Following his championship win, DeMarco’s historic matches with Boxing Hall of Famer, Carmen Basilio, are still considered two of the greatest fights of all time. Although DeMarco lost the title fight and rematch to Basilio, he went on to fight a total of eight world champions beating the likes of Kid Gavilan, Paddy DeMarco, Virgil Akins, and Chico Vejar.

After his retirement from boxing, Tony moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and opened a successful nightclub, Tony DeMarco’s Living Room, which he operated for twenty years before returning to Boston where he resided for the rest of his life. Referred to as “The Champ” in the North End, Tony was always very accommodating to fans and tourists. The unofficial ambassador of the North End, Tony would often be seen chatting with fans and posing for pictures with them. Former Mayor Thomas Menino renamed Fleet Street to Tony DeMarco Way, and several years later, in 2012, Tony was honored with a statue at the corner of Cross and Hanover streets, the entrance to Boston’s North End. Tony’s autobiography, Nardo: Memoirs of a Boxing Champion was released in 2011, and in 2019, Tony DeMarco was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame to take his place alongside many of the champions he faced during his career.

Predeceased by his son Vincent Liotta, daughter Sylvia Liotta, brother Andrew Liotta, and sister Mary Liotta Scolaro, he is survived by his wife Dorothy McGarry, stepchildren Jessica Hain and husband Christopher of Leander, TX, Rachael Talbot and husband Paul of Auburn, MA, Jason McGarry of Franklin, MA, Paul McGarry and wife Rachel of Millis, MA, grandchildren Rosemary, Reagan, Tyler, Catherine, and Abagayle, as well as his sister Josephine Liotta Vitale of Medway, MA, several nieces and nephews, and many dear friends and fans.

The family will receive visitors on Monday from 2pm to 8pm in the J.S. Waterman-Langone Chapel, 580 Commercial St., Boston. Complimentary valet attendants at front door. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11am in St. Leonard Church, 320 Hanover St., Boston. Please meet at church. At the family’s request, please omit flowers. Donations may be made to The Liotta Family Scholarship and mailed to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Massachusetts Chapter, 51 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148.

  • DONATIONS

  • The Liotta Family Scholarship

Services

LIVESTREAM SERVICE
19 October

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am

St. Leonard Church

320 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation

    Monday, October 18, 2021

Memories

Tony DeMarco

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Yolanda Cellucci

October 19, 2021

To Dottie and Family,

Danny & I always looked forward to seeing Tony and enjoyed being with him on so many happy occasions. Precious Memories of a Great Guy and all his accomplishments. May he rest in peace.

Yolanda

JOEL COSTONIS

October 19, 2021

Uncle Tony was the best. As kids I remember in New Hampshire we would have boxing training. Many great memories. Sad to let go, but now reunited with cousins. Love you Uncle Tony!!

Robert Caparella

October 18, 2021

Never forget my dad taking me to the Carmen. Basilio fight Mother Anna. Loved him our hometown hero And it’s an honor to be the custodian of his statue .

Ninetta Caggiano

October 17, 2021

Dottie,
please accept my deepest condolences. I am so sorry for your loss. Tony was a dear fried of my husband Bob. They enjoyed getting together on a regular basis at the Meadow Glenn Mall and chatting about the old days. I cherished the times I was able to be with you both and the dinners we enjoyed at my home. The knowledge that Tony had so many friends and fans must be such a comfort to you. May God be with you in the days ahead.
Tony will be missed.
Love
Ninetta

Marilyn Donahe

October 16, 2021

Tony became a member of our family when my cousin Rosemary Alves married Carmelo Bellavia (Tony’s Best Friend). Tony will be greatly missed. He was a wonderful person. I will treasure the Memories that I have of Tony with our family.
Rest In Peace Tony

Doreen Jennings

October 15, 2021

I met Tony and his wife Dottie at several events - including at Golden Gloves in Portland Maine and at a book signing event in Tewksbury Ma. They were very gracious people, happy to share some very funny stories of highlights of their lives. During my brief exploration into the world of boxing, I came to appreciate Tony’s tremendous success and accomplishments in the sport. You the Champ, Tony! RIP un sweet peace. My deepest sympathies to Dottie and family.

Rory Shaughnessy

October 15, 2021

Condolences to the family. May you rest in peace, Tony. It was a pleasure to have met you through my Dad, your long-time friend and fellow boxer, Trigger Bob Shaughnessy who was a member of Ring 4, a Featherweight Champ and also a Hall of Famer.

Rory Shaughnessy

Elaine (Petralia) Graham

October 15, 2021

My dad Salvatore (Sully) Petralia was a local boxer in Lawrence. All he ever talked about was Tony DeMarco. I grew up thinking we were related. Rest In Peace, Tony. Thanks for the memories. Spar with my dad in Heaven. God Bless, Rest In Peace.
Elaine Petralia Graham

carmine vigorito

October 15, 2021

To the man a wonderful husband a loving father and one of the best friends anyone could ever have. Tony Demarco will surely be missed but never ever forgotten. To my dear friend and family words can not express the loss of an icon. Tony will always be in all our hearts. The champ lives on and we will never forget the legend and hero from the north end.

Carmine Ferrara Vigorito

Al and DeCotis

October 15, 2021

With Our Deepest Sympathy and Our Prayers, Al and Linda DeCotis, Saint Joseph's Parish, Medway, MA.

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