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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 22
Remembering Joe Marino
Section One
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Remembering Joe Marino

Joe Marino, a longtime champion for Ryan White funds and a former county commissioner for Cowlitz County, WA, died on May 23, 2011, in Seattle at age 67.

Eschewing the fact that he came from a great football family, Joe served in the Air Force in Da Nang, Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive. After a six-year stint as a Phoenix, AZ, police officer, Joe opened his own leather/Levi bar in Phoenix called The Bum Steer.

Armed with a master's degree in finance and taxation, he worked as an accountant in West Hollywood, CA, eventually moving north to Mendocino where he did payroll for a company with 600 employees. He also served as CFO for the Mendocino County arts council as well as president of the Redwood Empire Bears.

After moving to the Pacific Northwest, Joe served as co-chair and advocate for the Portland Planning Council on AIDS. He was also on the Washington State Governor's Task Force for HIV-AIDS and fought since 1990 to get Ryan White funds to help pay for clients' rent.

As a 25-year long-term survivor of the AIDS virus himself, Joe knew what it was like to bury two former lovers from the disease. If the LGBT community ever needed a role model, Joe Marino had 'the right stuff.' He was 'always in leadership roles until he retired,' said his brother, Kenny. Joe was the collective daddy for a number of men who followed him throughout the West.

As an intellectual warrior, he was passionate about people and politics. When it comes to taxes and paying the IRS, Joe memorably told this favorite son, 'honesty is the best policy.'

Joe is survived by his parents and brother, Kenny, and sister-in-law, Cindy Marino, all of Phoenix. Donations may be made in his memory to the Lifelong AIDS Alliance of Seattle.

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