Green Bay - John G. Martinkovic, 91, Green Bay, died Thursday, February 8, 2018. He was born on February 4, 1927 in Hamilton, OH to Stefan and Katherine (Scasny) Martinkovic who immigrated to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia.
In 1945, he graduated from Hamilton Catholic High School. Following high school, John served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-47. He had been stationed in the South Pacific. After receiving an honorable discharge, John enrolled at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH and graduated in 1951. John was an accomplished athlete in both football and basketball.
On May 30, 1952, he married Clare Graf at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Hamilton, OH.
Following his graduation from Xavier, Mr. Martinkovic was drafted by the Washington Redskins but after one preseason game, was traded to the Green Bay Packers. Following the trade, John had to pull out a map to find Green Bay. After successfully finding Green Bay on the map, he played his first NFL game for the Green Bay Packers in 1951. He played with the Packers from 1951 until 1956. John was a defensive end who played in 84 professional football games. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1954 and again in 1955. During his storied career, John scored two touchdowns. In 1956, he was traded to the New York Giants where he played for one year, retiring in 1957.
Mr. Martinkovic has been inducted into four football halls of fame; Badin High (Hamilton Catholic) in 1994, Butler County in 1987, Xavier University in 1981, and along with Fred Cone were the two longest living members of the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. He was a proud member of the NFL Players Association and the NFL Alumni Association. John was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council #617, the Green Bay Moose Lodge #801 and the Green Bay Retired Men's Club. He has also been a member of St. Agnes Parish for over 50 years. He was a member of the parish Men's Club and for many years he and Clare worked diligently cleaning the church.
During his early playing days, John spent the off season working at General Electric in Cincinnati in the Jet Division but later, in an era when most players moved back to their home towns during the off season, John and Clare chose to make their home and raise their children in Green Bay. He was employed at Crust Buick, then Cuene Buick and finally Brennan Buick where he worked as a car salesman for 32 years, retiring in 1992.
John was an active volunteer and gave selflessly of his time, including participating in many golf outings. For many years he assisted with the golf outing that benefited the Easter Seals organization. John also played in the Super Bowl of Golf in Torre Pines, CA. He had many outside interests including woodworking and was a great handyman. John spent many enjoyable hours ice fishing and enjoyed being a numismatist (coin collecting). Most importantly, John was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He is survived by his wife, Clare; four daughters: Amy and Ralph Witte, Ashwaubenon; Linda and Dr. Kevin Dellsperger, Martinez, GA; Julie and Dr. Steve Hill, Mesa, AZ; Ellen and Jim Maxey, Milwaukee; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Margaret Martinkovic, Fairfield, OH; many nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by two brothers, Joseph and Steve Martinkovic; and three sisters, Sophia Johnson, Emilia Martinkovic, and Mary Martinkovic.
Friends may call at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1484 Ninth St., from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, February 16, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial with Rev. Patrick C. Beno officiating. Entombment will be in Allouez Chapel Mausoleum. Blaney Funeral Home is assisting the family. To send online condolences, please to go www.BlaneyFuneralHome.com
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in John's name.
The family extends a special thank you to the kind, loving and thoughtful staffs of Heartland Hospice and Allouez Parkside Villa.
Published by Green Bay Press-Gazette on Feb. 11, 2018.