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 »  Home  »  People  »  Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
 »  Home  »  History  »  Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  01/7/2008 | People , History | Unrated
Croatian Energy, page 3

Anthony Lucas, born in Split 1855, discovered the first major gusher in Texas, The Lucas gusher. He died in Washington in 1921.


18 m high granite obelisk, built in honour
to the Lucas gusher, Spindletop, contains the following lines:

On This Spot
on the Tenth Day of the
Twentieth Century
a New Era
in Civilization Began

Tombstone at the grave of Captain Anthony F. Lucas, in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo by R.F. Perkins (The American - Croatian Historical Review, July 1946, p. 11).

As to his nationality, it is often mistakenly described as Austrian, and sometimes even Italian (like in Who is Who in America, where there is also another mistake - that he was born in Trieste). On his grave in Rock Creek, Washington, he is said to be of Illyric origin, where Illiric is a standard name for Croatian.

Marija Miletić began her career at Zagreb Film of Croatia. She continued on at Hanna-Barbera studio in Hollywood, upon invitation from Bill Hanna.

She worked there as an animator, designer and also a director and producer, which roles she also held at other studios such as DIC Marvel and Universal.

Marija Miletić earned her Master's at UCLA in Theatre Arts, with the thesis about an American Legend, with roots in Croatian immigration, Joe Magarac which she plans to produce as a full feature film.

Another talented and professional family motion picture and TV production, specializing in commercials, advertising and documentary films is Teletechniques in New Orleans.

This business started Paul J. Yacich (Jasic) who came to the United States from the island of Brač, Croatia.

Joseph M. Martinac, born in Sumartin (on the island of Brač, Croatia) arrived to United States in 1912. He came to Tacoma, Washington, with a determination to build boats. He learned his trade in his native country - Croatia.

His original name was Joseph Mijich which for business reasons he changed to his family nick name, so the firm he founded in 1924 is known as the Joseph M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation. Quietly, it became a multy-million-dollar corporation.

As an extremely talanted man he designed and built a multitude of vessels with uncompromising quality and for a diverse range of services. Martinac died in 1963.

Above The High Point, an experimental hydrofoil built for the US Navy as a joint venture with The Boing Company, Setttle, is shown here "flying" on her underwater wings in Puget Sound. Martinac engineering, design and fabrication produced this sophisticated vessel, the first of its kind over 100 feet long, built in the United States.

From, by Adam Eterovich:

J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation has called the Thea Foss Waterway, Tacoma, Washington home for more than 70 years. Founded in 1924, by J.M. Martinac, a Croatian shipwright of unusual talent, the company is still family owned and operated. Joseph M. Martinac was born in Sumartin, Island of Brac, Dalmatia, Croatia.

In 1912, he came to  Tacoma, Washington with virtually nothing but a desire to build boats as he had learned to do in Europe. Now in its third generation of management, the yard is operated by Joe Martinac Jr., president of the family company. The founder's son, J.S. Martinac, remains active in the day to day operations as chairman. Originally the yard began designing and building wood-hulled salmon seiners for the local salmon fishing industry. A few of these vessels built in the 1920s are still in service today. These designs graduated into sardine seiners and eventually tuna vessels for the San Diego, California based West Coast Fishery fleet.

While fishing vessels were the backbone of the business, the company also built a variety of vessels for the U.S. Navy including tugs, torpedo retrievers, and minesweepers. A few private yachts were built as well. A succession of highly successful steel hulled tuna seiners, designed and built by Martinac followed. J.M. Martinac and J.S. Martinac were instrumental in the pioneering efforts that were to revolutionize the methods of tuna fishing from hook and line to purse seining. With some 70 of these vessels constructed over the years and fishing in nearly every ocean, Martinac has been recognized worldwide as building the "Cadillac" of fishing vessels.

The same skills and lessons learned in building these premier tuna clippers have also been applied to other types of craft. Whether it's tractor tugs in Hawaii or factory trawlers in Alaska, U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats or high-speed catamaran ferries, the Martinac standard of quality has never changed. The building of a ship requires the collective skills of all these craftsmen. "Even with all the modern equipment and computerization available today, there is still a great deal of personal craftsmanship required," says Joe Martinac Jr. "That's one of the things I love about the business and why we all feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment when a boat sails away for the first time. There's a real piece of you that goes to sea with it."

Martinac has employed as many as 350 craftsmen during busy times to build boats up to 250 feet in length and 45 feet in beam, sometimes with four vessels under construction at once. His firm was the first to successfully convert a tuna bait boat into a seiner, a move that revolutionized the world tuna fishing industry. He was a personable man, he liked people, and they liked him.

Martinac died in 1963, and this tribute was made to him by the Tacoma News Tribune: There are Navy admirals and enlisted men, fishing boat owners and crewmen, who will say Joe built boats with the best of them. Boats which contributed to the safety of the nation in wartime, boats which added to the economy of the nation in peacetime. He did it all quietly, by choice. Martinac's firm continues to carry on his fine traditions. The Martinac team of naval architects and craftsmen are prepared to meet these challenges and are pursuing a variety of new projects including Norwegian designed aluminum catamaran ferries, high tech tugboats for ship handling and renovations to some of the Washington State Ferry vessels. If all goes well, there may even be a few fishing boats in the future. It hasn't been the smoothest sailing in recent years, - says Martinac, "but we're still on course." (Internet)

Joe Marsh (Josip Marušić), a character actor with a record of 213 roles to his credit, poses with Joan Collins (center), while she was working on Daryl Zanuck's movie THE GIRL ON THE RED VELVET SWING.

He appeared in many TV and theater shows and in more than 100 films with renowned stars as Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Peter Sellers, Burt Lancester, Rod Steiger and many others. In one film he played Nikita Kruschev. He also appeared as a wrestler in over 3000 mathches, a profession in which he remained for 28 years.


"US" magazine carried a story in its issue of August 29, 1983 about Joe Marsh, because we can find him in all of the supermakets as MR. CLEAN (in Europe as MR. PROPER) on the plastic bottles with a sticker featuring a bust of a strong and muscular, but very noticeable bald man with arms crossed. That's Mr. Clean.

His father, also named Josip, was born in Trogir, Croatia, and arrived in New York on ocean liner Roosevelt on June 24, 1910. Upon coming to America he married Marijana, who gave him a son on August 25, 1911, weighing 22 lbs. They named him Josip, which beacuse of his involvement in sports and film arena was shortened to Joe Marsh.

Mr. Clean in France: Mr. Propre


Mr. Clean

By Vladimir Novak

In America, Canada and many other countries, in almost all of the supermarkets, you can find Mr. Clean products for cleaning floors, bathrooms, kitchens etc. They are usually in plastic bottles with a sticker featuring a bust of a strong and muscular, but very noticeably bald man with arms crossed. That's Mr. Clean.

Many people buy and use this quality cleaning product, but many probably don't know that Mr. Clean is in fact movie star Joe Marsh, whose real name is Josip Marušić. "US" magazine carried a story in its issue of Aug. 29, 1983 about Mr. Clean. Of course, Josip also appeared in all TV commercials for Mr. Clean products.

His father, also named Josip, was born in Trogir, Croatia, and arrived in New York on an ocean liner "Roosevelt" on June 24, 1910. He got a job at Republic Steel in south Chicago, where he worked for a $1 a day. Immediately upon coming to America, he married Marijana, who gave him a son on Aug. 25, 1911, weighing almost 22 pounds. They named him Josip, which because of his involvement in sports and film area was shortened to Joe Marsh.

He appeared as a wrestler in over 3,000 matches, a profession in which he remained for 28 years. He played in more than 100 films as well as many TV shows and theatres. In one film he played Nikita Khruschev.

His biography is very exciting and interesting. In his younger days he was associated with the famous Chicago Mafia men, Al Capone and Frank Nitti, and later with renowned movie stars with whom he later appeared in films. Among them were Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Peter Sellers, Rod Steiger and many others. He loved to talk Croatian with your writer, a language he learned as a student in a Croatian Catholic School in Chicago.

The above article was first published in 1988, a year before Joe Marsh's death in 1989. It was subsequently reprinted in Matica, Number 3, 1996. This is an English translation of the article.

Translated from Croatian by Marko Puljić, St. Louis, 2008

From, by Adam Eterović:


The Company Logo and picture "Mr. Clean" on the well known kitchen cleaning product sold for years is actually Joe Marsh whose real name is Josip Marusic. His parents were born in Trogir, Croatia and immigrated to Chicago. His weight at birth was 22 lbs. He is a product of the Croatian Catholic School System in Chicago. Before making his Hollywood appearance, he participated in over 3,000 professional wrestling matches.  He took the movie star name of Joe Marsh, and appeared in over 100 films as well as TV shows and theaters. In one film he played Nikita Kruschev. Joe Marsh has appeared with Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Marlo Brando, Karl Malden, Peter Sellers, Rod Steiger and many others.

Please, go to the next page below.

  • Comment #1 (Posted by Mira Plecko)

  • Comment #2 (Posted by John Ceperich)

    Hi Mr. Novak,
    That is my dedo in front of the Croatian Home in your photo from 1950. Seeing this picture was a pleasant reminder of what a leader and proud hrvat John G. Ceperich really was. Hvala.
  • Comment #3 (Posted by ECK SPAHICH, FRITCH, TEXAS)


  • Comment #4 (Posted by Anton Angelich)

    What a wonderful photographic odyssey of Croatian-Americana. Please continue the process and showcase more from your archives. We hope that you share some of the photos that the Croatian New Yorker Club sent to you years ago... Puno hvala. Anton Angelich, Trustee, Croatian New Yorker Club ( P.S. There also was another man with ancestry from our part of the world lost on the U.S.S. Arizona: Jerry Angelich
  • Comment #5 (Posted by Nedjeljko Jerkoviæ)

    This is excellent.I d like you to help me if you can.My grandfather had gonne to America 1913,and after few mounts he went to Aberdeen(probably).He is Ante Jerkovic,and i think that he married Mara Setka.If you have any information about this please return e-mail back because i am writeing a book about familly.thank you very much.
  • Comment #6 (Posted by george novak)

  • Comment #7 (Posted by felix vlacic)

    Cestitam g.Novak na ulozenom trudu.Koliko energije asamo jedna osoba Lijep pozdrav iz canade
  • Comment #8 (Posted by Ahmet)

    Have been following this a bit, and find a mere 28 % of the elttcoraee voting for membership astonishing. A Danish referendum would be invalid with those numbers.Was in the EU Parliament back in 2005, watching the parliamentarians as hungry wolves putting pressure on the Croatian Government to get Gotovina, disregarding all other points towards EU membership. The parliamentarians made it clear that it was an obligation of the Government to change the opinion of the citizens to no longer admiring him for winning the war and bringing lasting peace to Croatia. The foreign minister explained that they had undertaken extensive efforts to influence public opinion, but still drew the line at going into private homes to take down pictures of the national hero.They got Gotovina later, he now sits in Hague accused of "Not preventing the death" of 150 people during Operation Storm. To my knowledge still not convicted, he is widely considered a "War criminal" in the press, who reports it as a fact, not as a charge.Looks to me like a choice between national pride already heavily damaged and dismal economy. I understand that most Croatians chose not to vote at all.
  • Comment #9 (Posted by John Sabo)

    My great-grandfather is the Frank Hoffer shown in Part 1, Croatian Energy, page 5. He came to the U.S. as Andrej Uršanović. He changed his name to Frank Hoffer while in Philadelphia. My grandmother was his youngest daughter - Frances Dulcie Uršanović Hoffer Sabo, born in Karlovac in 1884. Thanks for giving him the credit for the bringing of the Tamburica to America!
  • Comment #10 (Posted by Jeanne Therese Sabo Finn)

    Thank you for your credit given to our great grandfather, Frank Andre Ursanovec Hoffer, and to his daughters, our aunts- Mima, Katica, Anna, and to his daughter, our grandmother, Frances Dulcie, for his contribution of building, introducing and playing the Tamburitza,a national Croatian musical stringed instrument, along with his daughters at the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and various other events. His daughter, Frances, was our grandmother, mother of our father, John W. Sabo Jr.,born April 29,1907,in Pueblo, Colorado,where he was a life-long resident until he departed this life. His siblings included Russel C. Sabo (a long -time resident of Cheyenne,Wyo.,and Gladyce Sabo Krutak (a long-time resident of New Orleans, LA)
  • Comment #11 (Posted by Chad Martinac)

    My names Chad Martinac, born and raised in Kansas City Ks, Strawberry Hill. Where our beautiful little retreat from the world on top and overlooking KC, From St John The Baptist Catholic Church right here. I long to know where I came from. So I had fraternal grandpa named George and his brother Butch. My uncle John Martinac,Dad Jay Anthony Martinac and by marriage John and James Vrbanic. My name isn't widely used so where did I come from? Do I have Martinacs in Croatia now,still? And would they welcome me? My great grandfather Vladimir came here at what time or why, I don't know. Strawberry Hill was and Is Kansas City's "Little Croatia" please google us and email me at I would love some info , or contact.

    Chad Martinac.
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