John Martinis Sr., Everett lawmaker, businessman, dies at 82

EVERETT — The son of a Slavic immigrant fisherman, John Martinis grew up in Everett, never far from the water.

He became a skilled angler in his own right as well as a resourceful politician. Yet on the wharf or behind the dais he wasn’t one for telling whoppers.

The Everett High School graduate who built a reputation for finding compromise as a state lawmaker and Snohomish County government leader died over the weekend in Anacortes. He was 82.

“What he really liked the most was to be in the thick of it all,” his son, John Martinis, said.

Before he ventured into politics, Martinis opened a sporting goods store on Broadway in Everett. To many of his customers, he was known as “Big John.”

Today, his son runs a similar business along the same thoroughfare. He still hears stories from people who would visit his father’s shop about some fishing tip he shared years ago or about a simple act of kindness he showed to teenagers straddling life’s fences.

Martinis broke into politics in the 1960s.

In 1967 Martinis won a spot on the Port of Everett’s board of commissioners where he pushed hard to create jobs.

The following year, the Everett Democrat was elected to the Legislature where he would serve as chairman of the House transportation and natural resources committees. Over the years, Martinis was known for his commitment to protecting the environment. He spent 14 years as a state lawmaker.

In 1975, Gov. Dan Evans appointed Martinis to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission that helped manage fisheries and shellfish resources on the Pacific Coast.

In 1984, he was elected to the Snohomish County Council. He resigned that position to serve as deputy to Snohomish County Executive Willis Tucker.

His children say Martinis was particularly proud of his efforts to find money and other resources to develop the 14th Street Boat Launch at the Port of Everett.

When Martinis retired from politics in his 60s, he didn’t look back.

He moved to Guemes Island off Anacortes where he enjoyed fishing, crabbing and shrimping. He was on the water at every opportunity.

His son, John, looks back with fond memories about the years he spent in his father’s shop and alongside him fishing.

There was no rivalry for the biggest fish.

“We fished together all our lives,” he said. “I feel so lucky.”

His daughter, Paulette Clayton, said there was just one thing her dad seemed to enjoy more than fishing: his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“I think he really considered them as his wealth at the end of his life,” she said.

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Monday at the Evans Funeral Chapel in Anacortes

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Agency didn’t expect such big demand for needle clean-up kits

The Snohomish Health District ran out of supplies quickly, but more are arriving daily.

EvCC teachers take their contract concerns to the board

Their union says negotiations have been disappointingly slow. The community college isn’t commenting.

Here’s what to do if you want to vote and aren’t registered

Oct. 30 is the deadline for new-voter registration in time for the November election.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Luring attempt reported in Mountlake Terrace

The driver allegedly instructed a boy to get in the truck and help grab a scooter he was giving away.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Most Read