As I See It: Remembering Former WWE Referee Joey Marella

I'm on vacation this weekend, and will return just before the July 4th weekend. So as I do each July 4 weekend, I remember the passing of former WWF referee Joey Marella who died as the result of an automobile accident on the New Jersey Turnpike while traveling to Newark, NJ from a WWF show in Ocean City, MD.

But since that tragedy happened, so much has happened in our world and in all of our lives since that day in 1994. The world is a very different place than it was then, with terrorism and war now an everyday concern for those of us in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. The fruit of our country's youth is coming home in bodybags from Iraq and Afghanistan on an almost daily basis.

Along with this anniversary, I'm thinking a bit more about the issue of people with wrestling suffering untimely deaths (whatever the cause or reason) after last year's passing and Randy Savage's recent passing. The death of one person and our need to remember them still stands out above and beyond things that we often can't understand or control; like terrorists using God's name as a justification for their actions, or the actions of countries toward other countries, or the actions of countries against their own people. We have to remember those who are and who were important within our lives...or within our areas of personal interest, like wrestling.

Remembering keeps those people alive, even if just in our hearts.

So as we celebrate another July 4 , I do my annual remembrance. I thought I'd again add a previous year's foreword from Kathy Fitzpatrick, who is, as always, is mentioned in the article below. Her remembrance adds to the yearly AS I SEE IT that I do remembering Joey:


"On this 4th of July after the picnics and parades, I always do one thing that I thought I wouldn't ever have to start a tradition of doing...going to the cemetary to remember a dear friend, Joey Marella. Joey was taken away from his friends and family way too soon, and this is the 12th anniversary of his passing.

That fateful day will always stay with me no matter whatever may happen to me. The reason it sticks with me is that I was one of the last people to see Joey. it was after a WWE show in Ocean City, MD and I was staying with friend in Baltimore. I am the person that Bob speaks about in the column below that wanted Joey to stay with us. But Joey and Bruno Lauer had to go to Newark to drop a car off and fly out.

I will always remember his last words to me... no, nothing mushy... just "call me I go to the Phillipines on Friday" Well, that Friday was when Joey was laid to rest in New Jersey. Joey was a great friend and will always have a special place in my heart.

I just want to say that Joey was a very important person to me and so many other friends and co-workers; and on this rememberance of his passing, I just wanted to remember a friend by saying I love you Joey. My prayers are always with your family...

Kathy Fitzpatrick"


"Looking back on the memory of...
The dance we shared...
'neath the stars alone...
For a moment...
all the world was right...
How could I have known...
that you'd ever say goodbye...
Dance, (Garth Brooks and Tony Arata, 1989)

Every July 4th, most people remember the holiday for fireworks, barbecues, and patriotic speeches. But some of us remember it each year for different reasons.

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