Louis J. Gambaccini, a former general manager of SEPTA and the first chairman of New Jersey Transit’s board, died at his home in Skillman, N.J., on Aug. 19. He was 87 years old.
In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Gambaccini shaped transportation networks across some of the nation’s densest metropolitan regions and mentored professionals who continue to influence daily commutes. The father of six served as the assistant director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey before founding NJ Transit in 1979 and then joining SEPTA in 1988, going on to serve as the Philadelphia area transit agency’s longest-tenured general manager. In 1997, Rutgers University recruited Gambaccini to lead its National Transit Institute. At Rutgers, he helped establish the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and another new research institute dedicated to the betterment of transit.