May 17, 1939 – Jan. 12, 2018
Louis J. Kaminski of the Town of Tonawanda, a college bookstore manager and musician, died Friday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a lengthy illness. He was 78.
Born in Buffalo, he decided to learn the trumpet as a boy after seeing one of his relatives play one at a wedding. He studied under Harry Slater at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and took lessons from Eugene Bishop of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and jazz trumpeter Sam Noto.
After graduating from St. Joseph’s in 1956, Mr. Kaminski took a train to Washington, D.C., and successfully auditioned for the U.S. Navy School of Music. In Washington, he was called upon to play taps at Arlington National Cemetery.
He became a member of the Navy Fleet Band, serving aboard the ships Intrepid, Canberra and Northampton. The band performed at various ports of call, as well as at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium.
While stationed in Philadelphia, Mr. Kaminski continued taking private trumpet lessons and studied arrangement and composition. In 1959, he was invited to join the Maynard Ferguson Band, but he turned down the offer because he still had another year to serve in the Navy.
On leave for Christmas in 1959, he attended the annual holiday concert at St. Joseph’s and was introduced to Audrey Dyl, then a senior at Mount St. Mary Academy, who was singing with her school’s choir at the concert. They began dating following his discharge and were married in 1961.
In Buffalo, Mr. Kaminski formed a jazz group, the Louis Stone Quartet, playing local clubs. An acquaintance, knowing of his love of books, offered him a job at the University of Buffalo bookstore.
“He liked it a lot,” his wife, Audrey, said. “When two of the bookstore managers went out and did Frontier Medical Bookstore, he went with them.”
When that store proved to be short-lived, he took a job as a department manager with Washington Bookstore in Seattle in 1963. He returned to Buffalo three years later to become manager of the bookstore at D’Youville College, where he helped design a new store.
He went on to be manager of the bookstores at Canisius College and Buffalo State College, retiring in the 1990s. He then managed the bookstore at Nichols School until 2000.
He was active in the National Association of College Stores and was a past president of the New York State College Store Association. He earned the title of College Store Professional.
Mr. Kaminski resumed performing after he retired from Buffalo State. He joined the George Scott Big Band and for a few years led a polka band, the Polka Classics. He was a member of Local 92, American Federation of Musicians, and the Colored Musicians Club.
While at Nichols School, he also played with an organist as a duo, performing at the school and for services at local churches. He continued performing until he became ill about eight years ago.
In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Kathleen J.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Assumption Catholic Church, 435 Amherst St.