Joe Campana returned from service in World War II to his native Oakland with the longstanding dream of opening a music store. In 1947, he did just that, opening in Lafayette and making the jump over the hill from his new home in Albany every day.
The store became a local fixture for hundreds of kids, who first went to Campana's to pick up rental instruments for band practice at local schools and then became lifelong customers, with Joe offering sheet music, lessons and rentals every step of the way.
Joe met every request with a World War II-era "can do" affirmation: "You need it by when? You got it, baby!"
Campana always said the best way to learn music was "the old fashioned way" and he built his business in the old fashioned way, one customer at a time.
He died Sunday, suddenly, and taking his family and many friends by surprise. He was 90.
There will be a "musical remembrance" of Joe from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Petars in Lafayette. Friends said Joe wanted a gathering at which everyone brought their instrument and made a little music.