- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2007

John Minarik, a conservative political consultant and fundraiser, died April 4 of a ruptured pulmonary aneurysm at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Fla. He was 60.

Mr. Minarik was born in 1947 in Cleveland. He attended St. Angela Merici Catholic Church’s grade school in Fairview Park, Ohio, and graduated from St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

At 16, Mr. Minarik borrowed the family car, decorated it with ribbons and balloons, and drove to Cleveland to join the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign motorcade. He was a volunteer in Youth for Goldwater in 1964 and then joined the burgeoning conservative student political group, Young Americans for Freedom.

Mr. Minarik’s father died one month before he graduated from high school, forcing Mr. Minarik to find a job and take care of his six siblings, while attending night school. Because he was not a full-time student he was drafted into the Army in 1966.

After completing his military service in 1968, he went back to work and later enrolled at Ohio University in Athens in 1969. He graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Mr. Minarik came to the District in 1973 and became director of congressional affairs for the Public Service Research Council and its political arm, Americans Against Union Control of Government.

His responsibility was to persuade government entities to stand up to public servants who went on strike illegally. He helped lay the groundwork for President Reagan’s firing of more than 10,000 striking air traffic controllers in 1981.

His next job in 1977 was for Richard A. Viguerie, who pioneered ideological direct mail in the 1960s and 1970s. It was from Mr. Viguerie that Mr. Minarik learned the art of political fundraising.

Mr. Viguerie persuaded former Texas Gov. John Connally’s presidential campaign to hire Mr. Minarik as its fundraiser in 1979. Mr. Minarik raised $14 million for the campaign.

In 1980, Mr. Minarik was hired as a political consultant and fundraiser by Frank White’s gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas against incumbent Gov. Bill Clinton. Mr. White won, handing Mr. Clinton the second of his only two losses in runs for political office.

From 1980 until his death, Mr. Minarik raised money for dozens of organizations and charities. In 1986, he was a co-founder of Brooks Mann Inc., a direct marketing firm for commercial and nonprofit organizations.

Mr. Minarik was still being sought to write fundraising copy in the weeks before he died for various nonprofit groups, which were fighting to stem illegal aliens and to enact judicial reform.

For many years, John Minarik was on the board of directors of the 60-Plus Association, a conservative advocacy organization for seniors.

Survivors include his mother, Alice Minarik of Fairfield, Ohio; two children, Anne Minarik of Oakton and Michael Minarik of New York City; five brothers, Daniel Minarik of Buffalo Grove, Ill., James Minarik of Annandale, Peter Minarik of Atlanta, Thomas Minarik of Catharpin, Va.., and Matthew Minarik of Fairview Park; and one sister, Mary Jo Minarik of Euclid, Ohio.

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