Dr. Joe Mariotti, inventor, town character and former Pinole City Councilman, has died.     (Pinole Historical Society)
Dr. Joe Mariotti, inventor, town character and former Pinole City Councilman, has died. (Pinole Historical Society)

PINOLE -- Joseph "Dr. Joe" Mariotti, a former councilman, town character, historian and orthopedic surgeon who, with his late wife, Gretchen, formed what many Pinole residents regarded as their city's first family, died Saturday.

Mariotti was 82. He had been suffering from cancer and had been receiving hospice care at his home, the historic Bernardo Fernandez Mansion, said Jeff Rubin, vice president of the Pinole Historical Society, which Mariotti co-founded with George Vincent in 1974.

Mariotti was on the City Council from 1984 to 1988; before that, he served two years on the Planning Commission. Gretchen Mariotti was on the council from 1990 to 1994 and again from 1998 until her death in 2000.

Mariotti had an orthopedic practice in Pinole from 1969 to 1999, and he was the team physician for Pinole Valley High School from 1969 to 2001. He also worked at Brookside Hospital in San Pablo, said historical society President Marcia Kalapus, who worked there as a nurse and administrator.

"Joe was a fine physician who cared deeply about his patients," Kalapus said. "They loved him. He gave his all. Whenever an extra doctor was needed in the ER, Joe showed up to help."

A longtime environmentalist, conservationist and human rights advocate, Mariotti was founder or member of numerous civic organizations, but the scope of his activities was international. According to biographical information supplied by the historical society, Mariotti served on the Save Contra Costa Shoreline Committee, Hercules Environmental Resources Committee, Urban Creek Council, East Bay Regional Parks Advisory Committee, Contra Costa County Plastic Recycling Advisory Committee, Coastal Clean-Up, West Contra Costa Environmental Education Committee, Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed, and from 2003 to 2010, the Contra Costa County Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee.

He was a longtime member of the American Board of Orthopedics.

Among his more internationally oriented activities, Mariotti founded the Pinole-Sudan Relief Organization in 1985 and the Pinole-Shaoxing (China) Friendship Committee in 1986. That year, he also founded the Pinole Nuclear Free Zone Committee. Over the years, the Mariotti family housed 12 foreign exchange students.

Mayor Debbie Long said she was deeply saddened at the news of Mariotti's death.

"As a past councilman, active civic leader and longtime volunteer, he was a huge presence in Pinole," Long said in an email Monday. "Most of us 'old-timers' will have fond memories of Dr. Joe on the football field in his yellow pants serving as the (Pinole Valley High) Spartans football team doctor. He has left his imprint in our community and will be remembered as a gatekeeper of Pinole history, as well as an advocate for the environment."

Mariotti was born and grew up in Pennsylvania, where he also went to college. After attending podiatry schools in Cleveland and San Francisco, Mariotti attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

After a medical internship in San Francisco and four years of orthopedic residency in Miami, Mariotti settled in Pinole in 1969.

Mariotti also was a member of the Pinole Garden Club, which planted a crepe myrtle tree in his honor at Bayfront Park on March 22, 2011.

Mariotti's survivors include two sons, two daughter and several grandchildren, according to the historical society.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.