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Vito Platamone Jr
April 15, 1940 ~ August 6, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old
Vito Platamone Jr. peacefully passed away on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023 at the Prescott VA’s hospice wing known as “Heroes’ Way” in Prescott, Arizona. Vito Jr. was born on April 15, 1940 to parents Vito and Anna Platamone in Cleveland, Ohio. Vita moved with his family to the Watts area of Los Angeles when he was 6. He soon started playing the clarinet, an instrument he took up when his brother lost interest in it. After Vito graduated from Dorsey High School in 1958, he went on to study music at California State University Long Beach. Before graduating he won an audition with the Army’s oldest active-duty band, the prestigious West Point Band (founded on the historic grounds of the United States Military Academy).
Vito served in the United States Army from 1963-1965 and was awarded with a Sharpshooter badge (Rifle M-14) and a Good Conduct Medal.
While playing in the West Point band, he performed at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral procession in November of 1963, as well as for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration in January of 1965.
After Vito was discharged from his enlistment with the band, he continued his career as a professional freelance musician in New York City, playing in numerous venues, including the 1965 World’s Fair Band and a short stint with Doc Severinsen at Basin Street East. Vito met his now former wife, Ellen, in New York, and after their marriage, they moved to New Orleans when Vito joined the New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra in 1967. A few years later, his two children, Dominique and Stefan were born in New Orleans.
A talented and creative mind, Vito patented his invention, the “Ligadjust,” an improvement on the clarinet ligature with an innovative mechanism to individually tailor resonant points on the clarinet reed. Vito also published a clarinet reed making booklet.
Vito’s professional musical career came to an end after a major automobile accident, which left him partially paralyzed with a traumatic brain injury. The family moved to Prescott in 1981. Despite his brain injury, Vito developed his passion for woodworking, continued to perform the clarinet in the Prescott community band and the Prescott Pops, as well as assisting others through his volunteer work at Yavapai Exceptional Industries (Y.E.I.) and the Prescott VA (over 3100 hours! from 1993-2019). He also continued practicing yoga, which he attributed to the success of his own rehabilitation from his car accident.
Vito is survived by his former wife, Ellen Platamone, and their children, Stefan (Chernise Spruell) and Dominique (Fred Johnson) Platamone, and his two sisters, Helen (Bill) Mona and Ann (Manny) Romero.
Services will be held at Prescott National Cemetery on Friday, Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the VA, Y.E.I., The Susan J. Rheem Adult Day Center, Northern Arizona Council Of Governments (NACOG), Prescott Meals on Wheels, or People Who Care. Vito greatly benefitted from these amazing organizations’ services.