Joe Marino “Mr. Fourth of July” – Spreading Holiday Joy for Nearly 50 Years – 2010/2011

Source: Northwest Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2010/2011  pp 134 – 137, by Paul Anthony Arco

 

 

Architect’s Plans for Eagles Building, 1944

Eagles Building

Source: Rockford Morning Star 9/17/1944

“Shown above is an exterior sketch of the $350,000 home Rockford Aerie No. 392, Fraternal Order of Eagles, plans to erect in the 100 block on East State St. as one of the most important downtown real estate projects after the war ends.  The five-story structure will be built on property the lodge recently acquired at the corner of East State and North Water Streets, opposite the News Tower at a purchase price of $40,000. Blueprints will be on display at the clubrooms, 915 East State.”

Property was purchased by the Eagles in the 100 block of East State, a five story structure for Post-War Home .  To our knowledge the building never went up. The property is across from the newspaper and currently is a city park known as Joe Marino Park.

Marino, Joe

Mr. Fourth of July plaqueJoe Marino

Source: Rockford Register Star 7/5/2010

Joe Marino & Mike Marino

Source: Rockford Register Star 7/5/2010

statue of Joe Marino

Source: Rockford Register Star 7/5/2010

Mr. Fourth of July plaque

Source: Rockford Register Star 7/5/2010

A patch of grass at the corner of Water St and East State St, formerly known as Waterside Park was renamed Joe Marino Park during an unveiling of a life-size statue Sunday July 4 of the man who’s organized the Independence Day celebrations for 47 years. His son, Mike, unveiled the bronze statue. The Rockford Park District helped to coordinate the rededication of the park. The statue was sculpted by David Seagraves and paid for with funds raised by Friends of Joe M. Rockford’s Mr. Fourth of July – Joe Marino gives his all to celebrate the country’s birthday. For the past 46 years there have been 3 contestants at the Fourth of July Celebration Fireworks are bigger and better each year; Joe Marino makes it happen. Joe is the Go-to-guy for all things Fourth of July. City bestowed on him the title “Mr. Fourth of July” in 1981. Marino took a second mortgage on his house to pay $ for fireworks when fund was short. Marino took over as Fourth of July Chairman in 1963. also helps organize the Festival of Lights in partnership with Park District former TV pitchman for the former Hanley furniture. Mother: Francis; father: Jasper; immigrants from Palermo, Italy in 1894; son, Michael. 2 stepdaughters, Leslie and Nancy from marriage to Louise (deceased):  3 stepdaughters,  Melissa, Kimberly and Wendie from marriage to Margaret (divorced) three brothers: Sam, Babe and Charlie and two sisters, Dorothy and Ella (all deceased). Employment: Public Relations Director of Project First Rate. U S Navy on USS Henderson in So Pacific, based in Pearl Harbor, WWII. honorary chairman of AirFest 2009. presented the key to the city by Mayor Robert McGaw, 1973. Recipient of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce Forward Rockford Award. 1974 Marine Corps League Outstanding Citizenship Award, 1976 Winnebago County Bicentennial Award, 1976. Man of the Year Award, City of Rockford, 1977 Helped organize Italian Fiesta, precursor to Festa Italiana, and the Italian Hall of Fame, 1977 Started the Rockford Christmas Tree Committee, raising funds to decorate the community Christmas Tree, 1978 Rockford Register Star Excalibur Award finalist, 1978 Organized the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon Committee, raising funds for Jerry Lewis Telethon, 1980 Mr Fourth of July Award, City of Rockford, 1981 Inducted into Italian Hall of Fame, 1983 Received U S Vice-President’s Excellence Award, 1984 Created the Rockford Air Show Committee to be part of the Fourth of July Celebration Crimestopper of the Year Award, 1987 WQFL Radio Good Citizen’s Award, 1988 Formed the Mountain of Toys Committee, which distributed more than 70,000 toys to needy children list of more awards.

Source: Rockford Register Star 7/5/2010