TOWN MOURNS MARINELLA
HAMMONTON—John C. “Jack” Marinella, the owner of Marinella Funeral Home for 60 years and an iconic civic leader whose dedication to his community earned him the 1995 “Nice Going” Award from the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce, died December 19 with his loving family by his side. Marinella was 90.
His daughter Jacquelyn Kincaid recalled her father as a “man of the people” who was fully engaged in all aspects of his life, from his family to his friends, to his work, to his Catholic faith, to his community and to his passions, including baseball and horse racing.
Marinella had an outgoing personality that seemed to make everyone feel like a friend—or family.
“I believe he came by that naturally. I believe doing that was a gift. He was a man of the people. That’s what made dad happy. That’s what made him tick. He passed that to me and our three kids. In his mind, that’s how you want to be—you want to be the first person to say hello,” Kincaid said.
In addition to running a successful business for many decades, Marinella’s impact was felt in nearly every aspect of the community of Hammonton.
“He had such a passion for making this community the best he could. He did everything he could to make this community flourish,” Kincaid said.
Whether it was working at Marinella Funeral Home, sitting in one of his many civic meetings, playing Santa Claus, enjoying watching a baseball game or time at a racetrack, or spending time with his family, Marinella always seemed to be fully involved in life.
“He just had that extra energy. When the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel came, he would cook every night behind the grill,” Kincaid recalled.
Marinella was born on the July 16, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Kincaid said her father was always active throughout his long life, especially in the lives of his family members. She said her father never missed one of her field hockey games, nor did he miss any of the games her children—Alexandra, Branon and Cassie—played. A special memory was when her husband Steve Kincaid coached the Marinella Funeral Home team in the Hammonton Little League when Branon Kincaid played on the team.
“You know how an athlete will ‘psyche themselves up’? That was him. He was so happy in what he did, it just fueled him to do more,” Kincaid said.
In addition to enjoying spending time with his wife of 65 years Sandra and his family, spending time with his friends was a large part of Marinella’s life.
“He just liked grabbing guys and going to the racetrack of the Phillies,” his daughter said.
Part of his ability to connect with people was rooted in his belief that it was the person that mattered the most.
“He was a compassionate guy. For him, it was about the person you are, and ‘you’ll be my friend forever.’ I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. Whomever he was with, they were the most important person at that moment. He was a man of the people—he did things willingly, happily for other people. Nothing was too much for him to do for other people,” Kincaid said.
Marinella Funeral Home Licensed Funeral Director and Pre-Need Specialist and Consultant Nick LaGuardia reflected on Marinella’s long life and the impact he had on so many people.
“I watched it first-hand. As far as Uncle Jack was just a genuine person who cared. The compassion that he had for families and people in the community was second to none. If you go on social media since he passed you read the memories from 20, 30 and 40 years ago and the impact he made on their lives. That’s what made him so special,” LaGuardia said.
LaGuardia said Marinella had a knack for connecting with people.
“It was two things: his charisma of walking into any room and being able to connect with the people in that room, no matter where he was, and his professionalism. Until a few years ago, he was always dressed to the nines, wearing a tie and a jacket. Even in the last couple of years, he was still well-dressed and professional. He didn’t have to demand respect. People gave it to him because he respected everyone he came across as well,” LaGuardia said.
Continuing Marinella’s legacy will be possible because of the many lessons he taught the next generations at Marinella Funeral Home, LaGuardia said.
“Uncle Jack’s known me since the day I was born as a close family friend. I consider it an honor that he allowed me and will continue to allow me to represent the business and all of us—his son-in-law Steve, his grandson Branon—to represent this business. The legacy he leaves is truly a legacy of who he was. As people pass, you think about who we’re going to turn to. When we reflect, we think about those conversation and subtle guidance and we already have the tools we need to continue his legacy. I love him. He was a second father to me,” LaGuardia said.
Marinella was born in Waterford Twp. and was a graduate 1951 graduate of Lower Camden County Regional High School, where he served as class president. He went on to graduate from Eckels School of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, class of 1959. He served his mortuary apprenticeship with Danks Funeral Home in Lindenwold, N.J., under the guidance and mentorship of Tom Danks. Jack became a licensed funeral director NJ Lic #2515 in 1960. After the completion of his apprenticeship, he purchased Macri Funeral Home of Hammonton in 1962. He later changed the name to Marinella Funeral Home, with the promise to serve Hammonton and its surrounding communities with dignity, professionalism, and respect for years to come, his obituary said.
According to his obituary, Marinella entered the United States Coast Guard in 1954, where he gave his service for 6 years. He gave selflessly to his community in many ways. He was a past member of the Waterford Volunteer Fire Co. Jack held many past president positions to include the St. Joseph Holy Name Society, St Joseph Parish Council, St. Joseph High School Booster Club, Hammonton Rescue Squad, Hammonton Chapter of the American Cancer Society and Italian Sons and Daughters of America. Jack served on the board of directors for Kessler Memorial Hospital. He was a dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus, Pallotti Council #3471 where he served as a 3rd Degree and also a 4th Degree Knight Council #680 and a Faithful Navigator. Marinella was also a member of the Winslow Twp. Lions Club, Hammonton American Legion Post #186 and Hammonton Kiwanis Club. He was a faithful parishioner of St. Joseph Church, where he was a church usher and a eucharistic minister.
Jack was a longtime member of the Hammonton Chamber of Commerce. In 1995 he received the Chamber of Commerce “Nice Going Award” for his outstanding leadership and devoted service to the community, his obituary said.
Marinella was a dedicated Phillies fan and season ticket holder dating back to Shibe Park. Baseball was a passion to Jack, as one of the first tasks he performed when purchasing the business in 1962 was to sponsor a Little League team. The team is still active today and won this season’s league championship in celebration of the funeral home’s 60th year anniversary. He played softball for the Italian Stallions in Hammonton for many years. Marinella enjoyed horses and had various sulky racing horses over the years that raced at the Atlantic City Racetrack and Freehold Racetrack.
Marinella is predeceased by his parents John A. and Jennie (nee Chalk) Marinella, and his sisters Phyllis Perrotta, Charlotte Hoke and Gerry Spinella.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years Sandra, (nee Iuliucci) his daughter Jacquelyn Kincaid and her husband Steven, and his grandchildren Branon J. (Celeste), Alexandra, and Cassie Kincaid. He is also survived by Sandra’s sister Virginia Bird and her husband Hank and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated December 23 at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish-St. Joseph Church. Entombment followed in Greenmount Cemetery.
His obituary said donations may be made in Marinella’s name to a Hammonton service organization of one’s choice that Jack proudly supported for many years.