Joseph Gaines Carley, Jr. – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

Joseph G. Carley Jr. Dies; Founded Jazz Band
By Joe Holley
Courtesy of the Washington Post
August 25, 2005

Joseph G. Carley Jr., 84, a computer systems entrepreneur who, on his own time, founded and directed the Bowie High School jazz band known as the Starliners, died August 19, 2005, of renal failure at his home in Crofton.

Colonel Carley, a professional bandleader and jazz clarinet player, formed the Starliners in 1967 as a school club. The group met for rehearsal every Wednesday night and Saturday morning and performed at professional venues and high school jazz festivals across the country, frequently winning highest honors for musicality.


Joseph G. Carley Jr. founded the Starliners, an award-winning Bowie High School jazz band that performed across the country. (Family Photo)

He also organized and directed the popular “Swing-In,” an annual jazz concert in the Bowie High gymnasium. The event often showcased such well-known jazz musicians as Mundell Lowe, Urbie Green, Clark Terry and Dick Hyman, with the Starliners as the supporting band.

As part of his mission to teach young people the essence of jazz, he enlisted musicians from area military bands to provide private lessons and clinics. Many of the Starliners, including two of Mr. Carley’s children, went on to successful careers in music. The group disbanded in 1977.

In 2000, on the occasion of Mr. Carley’s 80th birthday, more than a hundred Starliners alumni gathered to acknowledge and celebrate the significant role he had played in their lives.

Joseph Gaines Carley Jr. was born in Mobile, Alabama, and received a bachelor’s degree in music in 1942 from what is now Southeastern Louisiana University. In the years before World War II, he played jazz clarinet with a number of bands.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1943, he was a P-51 pilot and flight instructor. He received his discharge in 1946 but returned to active duty in 1950. During the Korean War, he flew B-29 typhoon reconnaissance missions in the North Pacific.

For the last five years of his 21-year military career, he was with the Air Force Command Post at the Pentagon, where he was responsible for developing computer systems for managing worldwide military transportation.

He also kept up with his music. While stationed at Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, he formed and led an all-Japanese dance band that performed at base functions. He retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1967.

From 1970 to 1986, Mr. Carley owned Creative Jazz Composers, a music publishing company that grew out of his frustration with the dearth of lively, challenging jazz music for aspiring musicians. He commissioned Lowe — a jazz guitarist who had been a college classmate — and other jazz composers, including Billy Byers, Pete Myers and Louie Bellson, to create high-quality, original music for high school and college bands. The music is still part of the repertoire for school jazz programs.

From 1968 to 1975, he was program director for the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee, a nonprofit corporation founded by major shippers among the Fortune 500 companies and charged with developing a standard method of communicating corporate business data. He assembled a team of experts that developed a set of data standards known as the Electronic Data Interchange, now used worldwide.

During the 1980s, he co-founded a corporation that provided EDI capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses serving as suppliers and customers to major EDI users. In 1987, he founded a consulting company, EDI Integration Corp., that assisted businesses in gaining the greatest benefit from using the data standards.

His wife, Shirley Carley, died in June.

Survivors include three children, Denise Carley of Crofton, Dale Carley of Malibu, Calif., and Gerald Carley of Daphne, Ala.; two brothers; a sister; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.


On August 21, 2005 of Crofton, Maryland. Beloved husband of the late Shirley A. Carley; loving father of Dale, Gerry and Denise Carley; brother of Louise Jackson, Fred and Doug Carley. Also survived by two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Graveside service with Full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 11 a.m.

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