Tony Marino was one of the good guys.
The Westport artist and proud World War II veteran died Sunday at home. His obituary reads like something out of a bygone era — sort of, what happens when the Greatest Generation goes to Westport — but it is an important reminder of how tightly, for several decades, the arts and sports and volunteerism were woven together in town.
Tony — a Pennsylvania native — joined the Army at 18. He served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to ’46, surviving combat in New Guinea and the Philippines, followed by service in occupied Japan.
Thanks to the GI Bill, he attended the Ad Art Institute in Pittsburgh. Tony then worked as a men’s fashion illustrator. He and his wife moved to Westport in 1959, and raised 3 children here.
He worked for more than 20 years as a New York department store fashion illustrator. In his free time he pained landscapes and Westport scenery — with a distinct, award-winning eye.
He spent many years as a Little League coach. Other hobbies included fishing, good food and wine, and veteran’s affairs. Every year, Tony marched proudly in the Memorial Day parade. His uniform still fit perfectly.
When I bought my condo, my realtor — Gale Zucker — gave me a gift: a watercolor of my new home, painted by Tony. He made the house come alive — by emphasizing the fir trees around it I have come to love.
From time to time, I change what’s on my walls. That painting always stays. It’s a graceful reminder of Westport — and the artistic legacy created by men like Tony Marino.
(Tony Marino’s memorial service takes place todaty (Sat., Jan. 29) at 1 p.m. at Zion Hill United Methodist Church in Wilton. Memorial contributions may be made to the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT 06880.)