Joseph Oddo, age 95 passed away on the morning of November 18th. Beloved husband to the late Guindolyn J. Oddo who preceded him in death. Loving father to Joanne (Len), Maria, John (Ann Marie), Josette (Scott), Joseph (Lorraine), and Jerome (Melanie). Preceded in death by daughters, Francine, Sarah, and Judy. Nono to Joey, Austin, MacKenzie, Hunter, Brooke, Jackson, Spencer, and Stefen. Grandpa-Joe to Suzanne and Jennifer. He leaves behind several great-grandchildren, cousins, numerous nieces, nephews, scores of friends and fellow musicians.
The youngest son of Sicilian immigrants, and a native of Detroit, Michigan, Joe was born during the Great Depression, and served during World War II in the 176th Field Artillery Unit and the U.S. Army Band. After his service, Joe became a musician and a private investigator.
Besides his family, his greatest joy was music. Joe started studying the piano when he was 7 years old, switched to violin at age 12, and later to acoustic bass where he was the protégé of Oscar LaGassey of the Detroit Symphony. He performed live concerts and entertained until the age of 90 in the Joe Oddo Orchette. Throughout his life he performed with many greats like Tony Bennett, the Myron Floren Orchestra, Bob Hope, Barbara Streisand and many others. In addition to acoustic bass, he played the electric bass, and had a fabulous tenor voice. In his early music career, Joe performed bass live in the Hank Trevison Trio on a local Detroit WXYZ TV morning show called “Coffee and Cakes.” In the 1950’s, he moved to Las Vegas and worked with the Scott Davis Orchestra at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel- this was at the time when there were only a handful of hotels on the Las Vegas strip. Joe returned to the Detroit area to perform on a late-night WXYZ TV comedy and musical variety show called “Soupy’s On” with comedian Soupy Sales in a house band called “Two Joes and a Hank.” The band also performed live at The Tropics and other night clubs in the Detroit area. He went on to form the Joe Oddo Orchestra and later The Joe Oddo Quintet and held a steady music gig at the famous Menjo’s Supper Club in Detroit. Joe initially met his wife, vocalist Gwenn Gray, Guindolyn’s stage name, while running late to a gig. Later he hired her to sing in his band. They eventually married and made beautiful music on and off the stage for nearly 54 years. Together, with their group, they played jazz, big band, swing and popular music hits performing on local television and radio stations, country clubs and many public and private events. They entertained all over the Detroit area and other parts of Michigan, and throughout Florida while semi-retired. Joe was a 75-year member of the Detroit Federation of Musicians - AFM Local 5 and recently received a certificate for his long-time support as a Meritorious Musician and Member.
We will celebrate Joe’s amazing 95 years of life with a graveside service 12:00 p.m. Friday December 11th , at Sea Pines Memorial Gardens, 3001 S. Ridgewood Ave. Edgewater, FL 32141.
In lieu of flowers, Donations can be made in Joe’s memory to the Detroit Musicians Fund, 20833 Southfield Rd, Southfield, MI 48075, or www.detroitmusiciansfund.org or Shriner’s Hospitals for Children https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org
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