John A. Marin passed away on June 5, 2020 at the age of 93. He was born in San Pedro on October 21, 1926 to Visko and Franka Marinkovich. His father was a commercial fisherman and he and his brother, Tony Marinkovich, were part of the local fishing industry from a young age. He graduated from San Pedro High School in 1944 where he was an All Marine League football player. His gang of local buddies, the "13th Street Dogs", were life-long friends. He attended USC and played football one season. While at USC he was hired as an extra in the wartime movie "Anchors Aweigh" in which he can be seen for a few seconds in one scene. Even with this minimal stardom, his Hollywood career did not last very long. He transferred to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California and graduated with a degree in Marine Engineering. He then served three years in the Navy as a gunnery officer on two destroyers.
While his destroyer was in port in Philadelphia, he and another officer took leave and drove to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. There he met the love of his life, Cornelia "Conna" O'Reilly, at the ballroom on the pier, while dancing to Merv Griffin and his orchestra. They were married in Methuen, Massachusetts in 1953 and drove cross-country to San Pedro where they would raise five children and were members of Holy Trinity Church.
He attended Loyola Law School and after passing the bar exam in 1957, he was hired as a deputy district attorney in Long Beach. He prosecuted many criminal cases and had numerous jury trials including the longest criminal trial in California at that time. He left the district attorney's office and began a 40-year career as a maritime attorney. His fishing experience and Navy background guided him through many difficult and successful cases. He had offices in Wilmington and San Diego. He was an advocate for injured seamen and fishermen and was well known in the Los Angeles and San Diego legal communities and on the waterfront. Many new attorneys who worked for him also went on to careers in maritime law.
John and Conna moved from San Pedro to Carlsbad in 1976 and later settled in on their "ranch" in San Marcos. They travelled extensively during their years together including visiting relatives on the island of Brac on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. He took his family and grandchildren to Catalina for memorable summer vacations, where he had spent many days in his youth and on commercial fishing trips with his father. Uncle John would cherish his yearly trips to Lake Powell with his O’Reilly nephews. His life and career always revolved around the sea.
His quiet strength and wisdom was an inspiration and great example of a father to his children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
He was predeceased by his brother Tony Marinkovich. He is survived by his wife of 67 years Conna, children John (Jackie), Mike (Tina), Liz Grotewohl (Mark), Lea Ryan (Mark) and Vince (Rachelle), ten grandchildren, C.J. Grotewohl, Andrew Marin, Jack Ryan, Sam Grotewohl, Zachary Marin (Tania), Mike Ryan, Mark Grotewohl, Reilly Marin, Kate Marin, Libby Grotewohl-Sierra (Carlos) and great-granddaughter Arijana Marin.
A funeral Mass, officiated by Fr. Harry Erdlen, a family friend since 1964, will be at Holy Trinity Church at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 26th with burial following at Green Hills in Rancho Palos Verdes. A reception and celebration of John’s life will be at their ranch in San Marcos on Saturday, June 27th at noon.
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