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
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of
Louis J Gambaccini, visit
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
St. Charles Borromeo
47 Skillman Road
Skillman, New Jersey 08558
546 Franklin Turnpike
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
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.
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