Middlesex County civil servant Vincent Martino recalled 2023

Former Middlesex County freeholder and Woodbridge councilman Vincent Martino was a dedicated public servant who didn’t allow politics get in the way of serving the community.

For more than three decades, Martino was a Democrat and Republican in public service.

Labels didn’t bother Vinnie. Politics didn’t interest him as a public servant. “He wanted to serve the people,” said Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac.

Gov. James McGreevey, former Woodbridge mayor, concurred.

“None of those partisan labels were particularly relevant because he was Vinnie,” McGreevey said. “He was always direct and straightforward.”

Port Reading resident Martino represented the 3rd Ward and at-large on the Woodbridge Township Council from 1972 until 2005.

He was a Port Reading fire commissioner, Woodbridge Redevelopment Agency member from 1996 to 2000, and Woodbridge Planning Board member from 1992 to 1994.

He was appointed to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders to fill a vacancy in 1979 and elected to three terms before a quarrel with former Woodbridge Mayor Joseph DeMarino pulled him off the Democratic ticket. Martino joined the Woodbridge Township Council as a Republican after losing as an independent.

He lost the 2003 Woodbridge Republican mayoral election.

McCormac called Martino “anything Port Reading.”

He was active in church, school, Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society, and fire company. “He was amazing and a character,” McCormac added. “You couldn’t dislike Vinnie Martino. He made you smile. He was never angry, which is rare for a politician.”

McCormac said Martino was entertaining.

“We could argue and debate and never raise our voices,” the mayor added.

McCormac remembered Martino’s budget negotiations being healthy.

“He once told me if I wanted to save money, we could just take the jelly out of the doughnuts and get plain at senior luncheons,” McCormac said. “He was just a funny guy.”

Martino’s passing grieved Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald Rios and the Board.

“Mr. Martino was a dedicated public servant who held a freeholder seat in Middlesex County from 1983-1989, served numerous terms as a Woodbridge Township councilman, and worked for the county.

Working for Port Reading Railroad in his teens, he loved railroads. Vincent, son of Italian immigrants, believed in American freedom, duty, and loyalty. Rios sent condolences to Martino’s wife Rosie, brother Marty, and family, saying, “Our community benefitted greatly from his tireless work for the residents.”

Martino was park police and parks department chairman as freeholder.

McGreevey called Martino “an extraordinary person” he loves and admires.

McGreevey remembered receiving advise concerning a town fuel tank fire in 1996 as a young mayor. McGreevey’s father advised him to call Martino and Carteret Mayor Peter Sica, while others suggested draining the tanks. Martino cautioned him.

“Vinnie’s point was if you drain the tanks the vapors will be far more combustible and the liquid actually will cool the outer perimeter of the shell as opposed to the vapors,” McGreevey stated.

Sica agreed with Martino, and McGreevey trusted himself and his friends. McGreevey stated a fuel tank company vice president verified Martino was right.

“Knowing his life’s wisdom, experience, and judgement was so valuable,”

McGreevey claimed Martino’s personal relationships helped him serve in several political parties and government institutions.

We loved him. Always polite. Today’s politics and governance are often pointed and unpleasant, but not Vinnie. “He was always kind,” McGreevey remarked. He never accomplished anything for himself. He was community-minded. His motives were always noble.”

According to his obituary, Martino served in the Marine Reserve from 1952-1953 and the Army from 1954-56, including 18 months in Germany.

Martino’s visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, 436 Port Reading Ave., in Port Reading, Woodbridge. The church will hold a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 28, followed by entombment in St. James Chapel Mausoleum in Woodbridge.

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