Honoring Kansas City Italians! Dr. Dominic M. Nigro

Oct 26, 2015 624

Dr. Dominic M. Nigro was born in Cosenza, Italy in 1893. As a child, Nigro's family moved to the United States and settled in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended the University of Notre Dame, earned a medical degree at Creighton University, and went into practice as a doctor, treating Harry Truman before he was President. In the 1930s, he served as commissioner of child hygiene and communicable disease for the Kansas City Health Department, and also had ties to Thomas Pendergast's crime organization.


While at Notre Dame, Nigro became friends with future football coach Knute Rockne. After Rockne's death in a plane crash in 1931, Nigro founded the Rockne Club of America and led efforts to place a memorial at the crash site. He also hosted annual Rockne Club awards dinners for prominent athletes and citizens. A passionate sports fan, he coached teams at Rockhurst College and De La Salle Academy, officiated football games for the Missouri Valley Conference, and traveled extensively to various domestic and international athletic events, acting as a voluntary goodwill ambassador for Kansas City.


Additionally, Nigro was an active member of the Democratic Party and UNICO National, an Italian-American service organization for which he served as president. He was also a photography enthusiast who took and collected numerous pictures of trips, events, and people he met. Dr. Nigro died on August 7, 1975 at the age of 82.


(Article written by the Kansas City Public Library)

Source: Kansas City Italians

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