In Memoriam


In Memory of

Louis J. Gambaccini

May 6, 1931 Aug 19, 2018


Louis J. Gambaccini, age 87, of Skillman, died peacefully at home on August 19, 2018.

Perhaps best known for creating NJ Transit, Louis J. Gambaccini was a national public leader, revered for his vision and inspiring leadership as a public transportation expert and committed public servant of the highest integrity and character. Most important, Lou was a beloved family man, professional, colleague and friend. Lou was born in New Haven, CT to Basilio and Pierina (Malerba) Gambaccini, Italian immigrants from Le Marche region of Italy.

He graduated from the University of CT in 1952 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served in Korea where he earned a Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. The Maxwell School set the course of Lou’s professional life throughout his five-decade public service career. He spent 30 years at the Port Authority of NY & NJ, in progressively responsible positions, including Vice President and General Manager of the PATH rail system and as Assistant Executive Director.

A resident of Ridgewood, NJ, he was nominated by Governor Byrne to serve as NJ Commissioner of Transportation from 1978 – 1982. Lou became a highly respected figure in New Jersey, especially for his role in creating New Jersey Transit, the nation's largest statewide public transit agency and served as its founding Chairman. He later served eight years as the General Manager of SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). He ended his long career as Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Lou’s visionary leadership, highest standards of professional and personal integrity, tireless work ethic, and reputation for inspiring others to excellence and success are all a part of his legacy that continues to thrive through the many lives he touched both personally and professionally throughout his life. He is survived by his six children – Mark, Claire, Beth, Paul, Sue and Jill – their spouses, ten grandchildren, his loving friend Mary Alice and his devoted aide, Ibrahim. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister and his beloved wife, Annette, to whom he was married 39 years.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Friday, August 24th, in St. Charles Borromeo Church, 47 Skillman Rd, Skillman, NJ. Burial will follow at 2pm in Valleau Cemetery, Ridgewood, NJ. Visiting for relatives and friends will be on Thursday, August 23rd, from 2-4pm and 6-8 pm at the Hillsborough Funeral Home, 796 US Highway 206 , Hillsborough, NJ 08844.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rutgers Foundation/Eagleton Institute, 191 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, or online at: Please specify gift is for the Louis J. Gambaccini Lecture Series.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Louis J Gambaccini, visit Tribute Store.

Thursday, August 23, 2018
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM  &  6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Hillsborough Funeral Home
796 US Highway 206
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Friday, August 24, 2018
10:00 AM

St. Charles Borromeo
47 Skillman Road
Skillman, New Jersey 08558
(609) 466-0300

2:00 PM

Valleau Cemetery
546 Franklin Turnpike
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
(201) 444-3230

Louis J. Gambaccini, 87, a member of the APTA Hall of Fame and chair of APTA from 1992-93, with more than 50 years experience in the public transit industry, died Aug. 19.

As part of a career lasting more than 50 years, Gambaccini spent three years as New Jersey commissioner of transportation and founding chairman of the New Jersey Transit Corporation; 32 years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including 20 years as vice president and general manager and in other senior positions overseeing the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation; and eight and a half years as general manager of Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
“Lou Gambaccini was an extraordinary leader who shaped transportation policy for more than five decades at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ Transit, SEPTA and, at the national level, as chair of APTA. He will be fondly remembered for his passionate and visionary leadership and his mentorship of so many in our industry,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.

Gambaccini came to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 1998, following his retirement from SEPTA, as director of the National Transit Institute and established the Alan H. Voorhees Transportation Center, including the founding of a new research institution, the Voorhees Transportation Policy Institute.

He was a past chair of APTA, the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the former Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) Regional Planning Commission. APTA inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and named him an honorary member of the Board of Directors in 2005; he earlier served on several APTA committees.


Send mail to
paranynj with questions or comments about this website.
Copyright © 2006 Port Authority Retirees Association, Inc.
Privacy   Disclaimer   Webmaster Contact Us   Subscribe to Para~eblasts
Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 10:13:52 AM