Joseph "Mr 4th of July" Marino

September 27, 1926November 21, 2018

Joseph J. Marino, 92, of Rockford,

With profound sadness and hopeful expectation of his place in eternity, the Marino family announces the passing of our patriarch, Joe Marino, well-known as “Mr. Fourth of July” on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. Born Sept. 27, 1926 in Rockford, Illinois. Son of Gaspare and Francesca Marino (nee Cacioppo). United in marriage to Louise in 1952 in Rockford. She predeceased him in 1976. He rose from a depression-era newsboy to impact untold numbers of lives in the Stateline area through his decades of community service. A decorated WWII veteran, he received commendations, awards and accolades from four US presidents, and various State and local officials and charitable organizations too numerous to list. 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. We believe the plaque adorning his statue in Joe Marino Park on State St. in Rockford well-describes his life… “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.” Celebration of Life Funeral Service at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28 at Sunset Funeral Home, 8800 N. Alpine Rd, Machesney Park. Visitation at 12 p.m. until time of service. Burial following Military Honors in Sunset Memorial Gardens. He will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Rockford 4th of July Committee, PO Box 1027, Rockford, Il 61105.


  • Rockford 4th of July Committee


  • Celebration of Life Visitation Wednesday, November 28, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Funeral Service Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Joseph "Mr 4th of July" Marino

have a memory or condolence to add?

Valeri DeCastris

December 15, 2018

My favorite picture of me and Joe. RIP!

Valeri DeCastris

December 15, 2018

So sad to hear we and Rockford lost such an American hero and Italian American legend. And so sorry to be on a cruise when this happened, so I couldn't attend his funeral. I am sure it was huge. Joe Marino gave of himself to so many causes. He went to school with my Dad (Val Eddy) and shared with him the same first generation Italian American experience so common to many in Rockford. The Italian immigrants were extremely patriotic and practically kissed the ground every day, so proud to embrace the U.S. as their own, so grateful to have a chance to escape poverty and experience the American dream. And so many of them gave back to the country that gave them a home. Joe made sure that everyone in the Rockford area had a wonderful 4th of July experience and could share their pride in our country. Joe also contributed much to the Italian community of the Rockford area, starting a small festival downtown over 40 years ago that was the precursor to Festa Italiana, our city's 2nd largest festival. I was so happy that the Park District rightfully honored him with a statue of him downtown. It looks lovely with the memorial wreath near it now. Joe never forgot his Italian roots in south Rockford although he mingled with and was respected by many luminaries. He was one of a kind and Rockford is so much the better because of his selfless work to better our community. May his family be comforted by the outpouring of love for him, before and now as he meets his reward in Heaven. God Bless Him. RIP bello paesano!

Laura Hanson

November 29, 2018

I worked at the downtown P.O. for 26 years where I met and got to know Joe. What a character. So many stories, so many jokes!! Then we discovered our mutual love of fireworks and he started giving me VIP passes to 4th of July. What a treat!!! It got better every year. He'd be so excited about his "new" displays, he couldn't wait for everyone to see them . And i know more than once he put in his OWN money to make sure they did. Unfortunately for us, the fireworks will never be the same. RIP Joe. You will be missed.

Stephanie Milloro

November 28, 2018

Good ol Joe Marino my fav memory of you was betting $2.00 on the Bears n Packers every week during football season him being a bear fan n I'm a packer fan couldn't wait to collect my two dollars n now here we are Bears are probably gonna win the division I know your happy up there in heaven watching that happen . Gonna miss you n you always asked how my son was doing . You brought so much joy to everyone Rest ez my dear friend hold a spot for me so we can cheer on our teams . Never would I ever say Go bears but Go Bears.Rest in Peace Joe ♥️

Judy Meehan

November 23, 2018

We appreciate all you did for Rockford.
Thanks for the laughs and may you rest in peace my friend.

E.J. Pagel

November 23, 2018

Joe was the best! I had many conversations with him, at the parade and on the phone at project first rate. He was also great at playing Wipe Out on the drums when he sat in with us in Mike's band! What a hard worker!

Best wishes Forever, E.J. Pagel, Winnebago