Minnick, Joseph "Sonny" J. -
Dundalk - Dundalk native, veteran legislator Joseph J. “Sonny” Minnick, 82, passed away Monday, Oct. 12, from a blood disease.
He was born on March 16, 1933, and resided in Dundalk for his entire life. After graduating from Dundalk High School in the Class of 1952, Minnick enlisted in the US Navy, where he served from 1952 - 1956 and earned a Good Conduct Medal. He attended Dundalk and then Essex Community College.
“Delegate Sonny Minnick was a kind-hearted individual, a caring, constituent-oriented legislator and a patient mentor,” said Jake Mohorovic, a former District 6 delegate who served with Minnick.
Minnick, a conservative Democrat, was first elected a member of the House of Delegates in November 1994 and served from Jan. 11, 1995, until Jan. 14, 2015. He chose not to seek re-election in the November 2014 race. His seat was taken by Republican Ric Metzgar, who called Minnick “a gentleman statesman.”
“Sonny was a tremendous man, a mentor and friend,” he continued. “The shoes are definitely harder to fill now, and I am truly honored to be seated at his seat in the General Assembly. He will be sorely missed.”
“He was always strong-willed and opinionated and tenacious in the way he went about his work, but he was always respectful of other people,” recalled John Olszewski, Jr., who served with Minnick from 2006 - 2015. “His advice was always very helpful and insightful for me, and I’m grateful for that. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to know him as well as I have.”
Minnick also held several leadership roles, being elected the chair of the Baltimore County delegation from 1995 - 2006, and serving as the Deputy Majority Whip from 1995 - 1998 and the House Co-Chair of the Maryland Veterans Caucus from 1997 - 2015.
“Sonny was the unofficial chair of the ‘previous question caucus,’" Olszewski revealed. “When debate would languish on, the speaker would look down from the rostrum and nod, and we’d know Sonny was about to make a motion.”
Minnick contributed “Sonny Sez” columns to the East County Times. Constituents noted in online tributes that he always respected them and their opinions, even when they disagreed.
Outside of his life as a delegate, Minnick was the owner of a popular restaurant on Sollers Point Road until he sold the establishment a few years ago. Locals remember Minnick’s as a great place to watch Baltimore Colts games, with Minnick leading the crowd in a team cheer.
He was also a member of VFW Post 6694, American Legion Post 38 and the Knights of Columbus.
Minnick attended Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Dundalk, where a funeral mass was held on Friday, Oct. 16. He was also remembered at visitations held at the Connelly Funeral Home of Dundalk on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 14 and 15.
Minnick is survived by his wife, Barbara (nee Nastalski), children Christopher J. Minnick, Danielle Cogar and Barbara Morse, six grandchildren and a brother, Daniel Minnick.