Sam Marino might not have been the best player on his sports teams, his friends said, but he was always the heart and soul of the teams.
He was known as a bit of a talker and prankster on his job at Newsday, but excelled at every position he held during his 29-year career as a collator, press helper, press operator and coordinator of press production.
“I’d say Sam had a chemistry here. He was the salt of the earth. That’s how I’ll remember Sam: the salt of the earth,” said Rich Lizzi, Marino’s supervisor at Newsday.
He was known to his family as a devoted father and husband who worked a second full-time job in recent years to give his two daughters college educations.
“He did everything for us. He worked two jobs for the past five years to put me and my sister through school,” said his daughter Gloria Marino.
Sam Marino, of Centereach, died May 2 at 62. His family did not give a cause of death.
He was born in October 1955 in Queens and attended high school in Long Island City, his family said.
He attended college for one semester before taking a job as a bank teller at a Manufacturers Hanover Trust in Queens.
It was there that he met Edward O’Donnell, now a Bethpage resident, and formed a bond that lasted a lifetime — beginning with their play on the bank’s bowling and baseball teams.
“He wasn’t always the best guy on the team, but he was always on the A team. He was loud and physical with praise and love. He was the glue that held us together, got us pumped and psyched,” O’Donnell said.
“He was the guy who could take the tension out of a room. If tempers got hot, he’d calm everybody down,” O’Donnell said.
He was also, “a huge Rangers fan,” which made for almost daily jousting with fans of the rival Islanders hockey team, Lizzi said.
“He had six jobs here, and every department just loved this guy,” Lizzi said.
Marino met his wife, Annette, at the bank branch in Queens and they dated for several years. They moved to Centereach after their marriage in November 1988.
Marino also is survived by his daughter Gina Marino of Buffalo.
Visiting was held earlier this month at Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue. A funeral Mass was celebrated May 7 at St. Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic Church in Selden, followed by burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.