2019 Featured Young Croatian
Michael Thomas Marinkovich
Michael Thomas Marinkovich was born March 30, 1994 in Seattle, Washington. He is the son of Mark and Kelly Marinkovich, the grandson of Tom and Terry Marinkovich and the great-grandson of Nicholas and Marica Marinkovich. Nick and Marica both immigrated from the Island of Brać and the village of Bol. Nick was one of the founding members of Slavonian Hall in Tacoma and a commercial fisherman.
Michael grew up in Redmond, WA with his brother (Nick) and sister (Allie). He graduated from Aviation High School and Seattle Pacific University. He has faced many challenges over the years as the result of being born with a cleft lip and palate and without his right eye. He had 15+ surgeries over a 23-year period and has faced each one with amazing acceptance and strength. His positive spirit has been evident with each surgery and he has been an inspiration to anyone who knows him. Doctors and nurses were always amazed at his optimism. His wisdom and determination were often far beyond his years.
When Michael was only about 3-4 years of age, he became fascinated with airplanes. He started taking flying lessons when he was 15 at a local aviation company and earned his lessons by working for the company. He got his pilot’s license at the age of 18 and is only a few short hours of getting his Flight Instructor certificate. His passion for aviation continues to this day, as he is an engineer in the Flight Deck Operations and Design at the Boeing Company.
Michael is also a musician, playing the piano and the accordion. You can see him play many weekends at the Bellevue Mall. His mentor through his years of both piano and accordian has been his Great-Uncle, Andy Mirkovich. If you ever see him performing, stop by, say hello and he will be happy to entertain you with a medley of Croatian songs.
Michael’s love for his Croatian heritage started at the knee of his Great-grandmother, Marica who shared her love for her country through her cooking and her stories. Michael said: “My Croatian heritage represents the memories of those who came before me. It is more than just a love of the music, food, culture, and beautiful country, rather it represents a set of values rooted in Catholicism, the nuclear family, resilience, hard work, and patriotism that has impacted my life immeasurably.”
He loves to visit family in Bol, Brać and is looking forward to returning with the entire family in the summer of 2020.
Congratulations Michael on receiving the “Featured Young Croatian” award at CroatiaFest 2019, an honor very well deserved.