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Rio Burke of Richmond Lived in '20s Chicago

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  • Rio Burke of Richmond Lived in '20s Chicago

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Title

Rio Burke of Richmond Lived in '20s Chicago

Subject

people, history

Description

In the book Chicago Originals by Kenan Heise and Ed Baumann there is a section on Rio Burke. To quote a paragraph in this section "Rio Burke, nee Ray Rucker of Richmond, Ky., was married to dapper Dominick Roberto, alias Dan Roberts, a Capone lieutenant in south suburban Chicago Heights." According to the article, Ray Rucker was born in Richmond in 1903, studied music as a child and learned to play the piano and violin. At the age of 19 she took a singing job at Big Jim Colosimo's cafe on South Wabash Avenue in Chicago. A cousin, who was a Follies girl, helped her get this job.

She met Roberto a year later at a nightclub he owned and they were married on April 14, 1924 in Indiana. She says she knew he was a racketeer, but she didn't know what that was and didn't think it involved killing. She said he never told her anything about his business, but bought her plenty of fur coats and diamonds. Al Capone was often a visitor at their house. According to Burke he was always a perfect gentleman.

Only once did Roberto hit her and she hit him right back and he never again raised his hand to her. They divorced in 1927, but remained friends. She visited him at the federal pen at Leavenworth where he was in for perjury. In 1933, two weeks after leaving prison, Roberto was deported to Italy. That year Burke joined a big band as a singer. She met her second husband, Jack Burke, in Kansas City.

Still later she was a popular singer on WLW radio station in Cincinnati, with Enrique Madri-guera's band. She changed her name at that time to Rio, more girlish sounding than Ray. Her marriage to Burke also ended in divorce.

For the last 50 years she has lived alone in Chicago's North Side. She is still in love with Roberto. They had dinner the night before he was deported and he gave her $1,000. She never heard from him again. The book Chicago Originals was published in 1990. Ray Rucker of Richmond, Kentucky turned 88 this year. She has traveled a long way from the Madison County she left in 1922.1 wonder if she ever came back to Richmond.

Creator

Dr. Fred Engle

Date

2/15/1992

Collection

Tags

Citation

Dr. Fred Engle, “Rio Burke of Richmond Lived in '20s Chicago,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed December 18, 2017, http://library-old.eku.edu/blogs/digital/items/show/2742.