Beloved Rockford icon to be honored during Stroll on State fireworks show
Updated: November 23, 2018, 12:08 p.m.
UPDATE: The Rockford Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau says it's dedicating its Sky Lights Fireworks Show tomorrow night in honor of Joe Marino, who passed away this week at age 92.
Well known as "Mr. Fourth of July," Marino helped put on Fourth of July fireworks performances for more than 50 years.
The fireworks show starts right after the tree lighting ceremony around 6:15 p.m.
Joe Marino, the Rockford legend known as Mr. Fourth of July has passed away at the age of 92. For decades he's put together the 4th of July parade and fireworks display as well as the festival of lights. The city of Rockford remembers his commitment to the community and hopes to continue on with his legacy for generations to come.
For decades, Joe Marino has been a part of thousands of families 4th of July traditions.
"I always called him Mr. Fourth of July,” said Rockford resident Jackie Dean.
For Jackie dean, her family always made sure they made it to the parade.
“We would always start off every 4th of July going to the parade there on 7th Street so we could get a good seat. That was the thing, he would have the route to where most of the community could find a seat somewhere,” said Dean.
Like Jackie’s brother Albert, who can watch the parade from his window at the Vankommen Plaza.
“A lot of folks in this building, because of age and handicaps, they don't have the accessibility to see the parade if it was over on state street. So having it here coming by the building affords them to see the parade, and that's a big thing said Albert Dean.
“I think at the heart of it was Joe's commitment to our community and bringing people together of all walks of life to celebrate milestones and important holidays,” said President & CEO of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau John Groh.
Joe Marino’s dedication to our city has helped make Rockford’s firework show one of the largest in the state. He's instilled a sense of community in thousands of people. He's lit up our skies, our parks and our hearts, and area leaders hope to carry on the legacy he's created.
“One of Joe's greatest legacies was his love of country, his love of this community and its people. I appreciate that about him and I know that we'll carry on in future years,” said Groh.
Updated: Nov. 21, 2018, 6:00 p.m.
Joe Marino has instilled a sense of community in thousands of people, and community members hope his legacy carries on for generations to come.
"One of Joe's greatest legacies was his love of country, his love of this community and its people," said RACVB president John Groh. "I appreciate that about him and I know that we'll carry on in future years."
His dedication to Rockford has helped make the city's fireworks show one of the largest in the state for decades.
"We would always start off every 4th of July going to the parade," Jackie Dean of Rockford recalled. "He would have the route to where most of the community could find a seat somewhere."
The parade route was designed to give everyone something to celebrate.
"Lot of folks... don't have the accessibility to see the parade if it was over on state street," Albert Dean of Rockford said. "So having it here coming by the building affords them to see the parade, that's a big thing."
Marino also played a big part in organizing the city's Fourth of July parade and Festival of Lights. His efforts have instilled a sense of community in thousands of people.
"I think at the heart of it was Joe's commitment to our community and bringing people together of all walks of life to celebrate milestones and important holidays," said Groh.
Published: Nov. 21, 2018, 8:40 a.m.
The family of Joe Marino, a Rockford icon known as "Mr. Fourth of July," announces his passing Wednesday morning.
Born in 1926, Marino was a decorated WWII veteran who received numerous awards from national and Stateline officials.
His family expressed appreciation for well wishes as they became aware of Joe's declining health.
Mike Marino wrote in a Facebook post: "The family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support and love from many thousands through social media and other platforms during his final days. He was humbly grateful to receive the prayers and good wishes expressed."
His family says the State Street plaque in Joe Marino Park honors his life well.
“Joe Marino – Mr. Fourth of July. A lifelong Rockford resident and beloved civic leader who championed community celebrations and festivals for half a century. His leadership inspired generations of local children and adults to enthusiastically embrace their American values of love, honor and service to their city, country and families.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rockford 4th of July Committee, PO Box 1027, Rockford, Il 61105.
Public visitation and funeral arrangements are pending at Sunset Funeral Home.