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Memphis Daily News
Lucchesi a True Memphis Legend
December 16, 2013
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Angelo Lucchesi did both.

Angelo died last week, just a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday. He left a legacy that speaks to the unique living he made in the business world, and his life of giving. Angelo is famous for the living he made as the first salesman for Jack Daniel’s, his lifetime career with the distillery and his close friendship with Frank Sinatra.

At age 90, and still traveling worldwide representing Jack Daniel’s, Angelo was honored by the company with a 90 proof special edition of Jack Daniel’s named in his honor. He was truly a Lynchburg Legend. His other legacy is the life he lived, the example he gave and his generosity to anyone in need that makes him truly a Memphis Legend.

Angelo was a man of faith and integrity. People always referred to him as famous. But Angelo Lucchesi did not know how to be famous. He only knows how to be Angelo.

I warned him that if he did not stop caring so much about other people, he would be forced to sit at an award dinner and hear other people talk about him. And it happened often as he was recognized for the difference he made in the lives of others by his generous giving, his wise counsel, his commitment to reaching out to others and his courage in overcoming obstacles that would sideline a lesser person.

You can’t fake that; that’s real. That’s why Angelo continues to inspire us in Memphis. We know, and continue to experience, the positive impact of his life on countless number of people and organizations he has impacted and inspired.

Angelo shared his amazing journey of the past 92 years with Memphis. It was a journey of family and friends, of faith and work, dedication and service. He entertained by sharing his memories of people, and a Hollywood lifestyle most people have only read about. He motivated by sharing his stories of overcoming struggles and challenges in his own life.

When he lost his arm in a childhood accident, instead of using that tragedy as an excuse to do less, he accepted it as the new Angelo and went on to accomplish even more. He showed that resilience is a mixed blessing that comes with adversity, and modeled the courage and hope that strengthens the human spirit when things don’t look so good. It’s a resilience that doesn’t break your back, but bends your knee.

He touched hearts with the love he showered on his family and friends. He made Memphis a better place by his selflessness, his care, his concern for the poor, the infirmed or undereducated. He was truly an angel, visible, larger than life, with a heart big enough to love everyone, and who never knew a stranger. He makes us all want to be Angelo when we grow up!

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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