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GREEN BAY – John Martinkovic, one of the oldest surviving former Green Bay Packers players, died Thursday at 91.
Martinkovic, who played defensive end for the Packers from 1951-56, was a three-time Pro Bowl choice and a 1974 inductee into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. He turned 91 on Feb. 4, Super Bowl Sunday.
Drafted by Washington in the sixth round in 1951, Martinkovic was acquired by the Packers in a trade for offensive end Ted Cook. He finished his career in 1957, playing one year for the New York Giants, where he met then-assistant coach Vince Lombardi.
Green Bay Packers historian Cliff Christl pointed out the Packers used the third-round draft pick they got for Martinkovic to draft future Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke.
Martinkovic did not miss a game in his career, playing 84, including 72 in Green Bay.
After retirement, he returned to Green Bay and lived there until his death. He was employed at Crust Buick, then Cuene Buick and finally Brennan Buick. He retired in 1992
Martinkovic was a native of Hamilton, Ohio. He served three years in the U.S. Navy before graduating from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
He was a member of four halls of fame, including Badin High (Hamilton Catholic), Butler County and Xavier University, all in Ohio, and the Packers Hall of Fame. He was a member of the NFL Players Association, the NFL Alumni Association, Knights of Columbus Council #617, Green Bay Moose Lodge #801 and Green Bay Retired Men's Club.
He is survived by wife, Clare, four daughters, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1484 Ninth St., from 9–11 a.m. Friday, followed by a funeral service.