The Joe Gaines Big-Band

Joseph DeGatana

R.I.P - 2/24/2012

Joseph DeGatana - 2/24/2012

Joseph DeGatana passed away at home in Morristown on Friday, February 24, 2012. He was 81. Born in Elizabeth, NJ, Joseph worked as a Charter Bus Driver for Progressive Tours for 20 years. He attended The Delbarton School and was a gold card member The American Federation of Musicians Local #16 as well as being a Life Member of The Morristown Columbian Club. He is predeceased by his wife Rose Fumosa DeGatana. He is survived by his son Michael DeGatana of Morristown, NJ; daughter Donna Tamburello and her husband David of Mendham, NJ; daughter Barbara Ryan and her husband John of Mt. Olive, NJ and 3 grandchildren: Stephen and Luke Tamburello and Brittany Ryan. Hours of visitation will be on Monday, February 27, 2012 from 4-8 pm at Doyle Funeral Home, 106 Maple Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960 ( A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:30am at Church of the Assumption on Maple Ave. in Morristown, NJ. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover, NJ. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Josephs’ memory to The Michael J. Fox Foundation ( Also known as Joe Gaines… his love of music lead him to form his own band, The Joe Gaines Orchestra. Overcoming his hearing impairment, he excelled in playing the Saxophone. Music was also the reason how he met his wife Rose and long time friend Legendary Musician Maynard Ferguson. While working for Villani Bus Company in the early 70’s, Joe jumped at the opportunity to be the first tour driver of Mr. Ferguson’s return to the U.S. This included an all new British Band. His love of NASCAR racing was evident with running many of his own bus trips to the Daytona 500 to share the experience with family and friends. During his retirement years, Joe enjoyed tinkering with his Chrysler classic car collection and traveling to visit family and friends. Joe also enjoyed watching NASCAR races, The Yankees, professional boxing and wrestling. Joe could also be found Wednesday nights at the Columbian Club or visiting friends at Speedwell Auto where he was also known as “Bus Man”


About Joe...

This is a tale about a really nice guy who dreamt of having a big-band! Unfortunately, he was deaf, but he didn't let that slow him down at all! He was, however, a bus driver and if you want to start a band all you need is a bus, right? (Well, maybe some music stands too!) Toss in some second-hand, foul-smelling funky 'gold' colored band jackets and you're in business!

The 'Joe Gaines Band' lasted about 2 years, before the guys all dropped out, and we formed a new large band, actually becoming the first 'Lee Harris' band. (Unfortunately, though, we didn't have a bus!)


The story does have a happy ending though; soon after we left Joe, he began driving different bands around the country; the last I heard, he was driving for Maynard Ferguson's band!


Unknown, Buzz DeJohn, Unknown, Fred Nittel, Unknown

The 'Bus'...

Danny Riccardi, Carmen Legerio, Vinnie Chickaleese

Danny Riccardi, Bob Ackerman

Back To Lee's World