Regal Tip Founder Joe Calato has Passed Away

Regal Tip Founder Joe Calato has Passed Away

Joseph “Joe” D. Calato, the founder of drumstick company Regal Tip has passed away. Calato died peacefully on September 1, 2023. He was 102 years old.

Calato's obituary reads:

Joe was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY on March 20, 1921.  He was the son of the late Samuel and Angela (Bongiovanni) Calaty and the beloved husband of 72 years to the late Katherine ‘Kay’ Calato.

He studied engineering at the University of Buffalo before leaving to honorably serve his country during WWII as a navigator on B17s in the Army Air Corps.  Upon returning home, Joe met and married his soulmate, Katherine (Kay) Laurri and went on to raise a family.

Joe was not only a talented drummer, but also a skilled cabinet maker.  He revolutionized the percussion industry by inventing the nylon tip drumstick, which led to the founding of the world-famous Regal Tip brand.  He added many other patented inventions that are responsible for improving the quality of the sticks and brushes that drummers use today.

His accomplishments led him to become the recipient of many awards, including Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame, Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls Hall of Fame, as well as a Life Time Achievement Award.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Joe had a deep love for life’s simple pleasures.  He enjoyed golf, fishing, gardening, cooking and, above all, spending time with his family and friends.

Joe leaves behind a lasting legacy in the music industry and will be remembered for his innovation, dedication and love for his family.  As we mourn his loss, we also celebrate the memorable moments and enduring love he shared with us.

Mr. Calato is survived by his children, Carol Calato, Joseph (Barbara) Calato and Cathy (Gordon) Calato-Stephens; his grandchildren, Joseph Calato, Jesse (Jennifer) Calato, Nicholas (Melody) Calato, Chantal (David) Calato Bachowski, Rocco (Christine) Calato, Angelo Calato and Michelle (Matthew) Calato-Carrier; his great-grandchildren, Deanna, Aaron, Alex, Samantha, Max, Mia (Kenan), Domenic, Izzi, Elle and Antoinette; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family would like to thank Niagara Hospice and his caregivers for their comfort and unwavering care, love and support.

Visitation was Wednesday, September 6 from 3-7 P.M. at M.J. COLUCCI & SON NIAGARA FUNERAL CHAPEL, 2730 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY 14304, where funeral services took place  Thursday at 10:30 A.M., followed by Military honors and interment in St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorial offerings may be made to the Niagara County S.P.C.A or Niagara Hospice. Visit for online condolences.

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