Joseph T. Capone passed away at the age of 98 on June 16, 2021

Posted on July 28th, 2021

Joseph T. Capone passed away at the age of 98 on June 16, 2021, in Pittsburgh, PA. Interment with military honors took place on June 25th.

Joe was one of the founding organizers of the Pittsburgh Rockets Drum and Bugle Corps, serving as the units’ business manager for 27 years. He was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1980. He was the last of the original seven corps directors who voted to form Drum Corps Associates in 1963. Joe stayed active in the WDCHF for many years serving as the historian and chaplain, honoring the deceased members.

He was the second of four generations in his family that marched in drum corps. His father (Florindo) marched in a post-WWI drum corps affiliated with the local American Legion; it was his vision that created the Rockets in 1947.  Joe, along with his brothers Carmen and Valentino were long-time members of the Rockets with Val joining him as a member of the WDCHF in 1985. The third generation included Joe’s sons, Jim, Thom and Joe marching with the Rockets and Thom with Steel City Ambassadors. Thom’s sons Leo and Tony round out the 4th generation with Tony (Cadets2 and the Cadets), and Leo (Cadets2, Bluecoats and currently the “Commandants Own” Marine Drum & Bugle Corps). 

During World War II, Joe served with the 104th “Timberwolf” Infantry Division, 415th Regiment, Company E, in the European Theatre of Operations as a rifleman scout. During his tour of duty, he participated in four major campaigns in Northern France, the Netherlands, Ardennes, and Rhineland. He was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star (with cluster), Purple Heart (2 clusters) Combat Infantryman Badge, Presidential Unit Citation (with cluster), and Good Conduct Medal. In 2009, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh.

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