Mariano Lucca, who successfully crusaded to make Columbus Day a national holiday, died Sunday (Feb. 27, 1994) in Buffalo, N.Y., after a long illness. He was 92.
Long involved in Italian-American affairs, Mr. Lucca founded the National Columbus Day Committee in 1966 and lobbied Congress for a national holiday. Columbus Day was inaugurated in 1971.
Born in 1901 in an Italian-American neighborhood in Buffalo, Mr. Lucca developed an early interest in Democratic politics. His father, Francesco, was a Sicilian immigrant who held political meetings at the saloon he ran. He developed friendships with Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and he spent his honeymoon in 1924 at the Democratic National Convention in New York City.
In the 1950s and 1960s, he ran unsuccessfully five times for Congress and attended every presidential inauguration since Herbert Hoover's in 1928.