Marineland Owner John Holer Dies at 83
John Holer, the Slovenian immigrant who founded Marineland in 1961 and turned it into a Niagara Falls tourism empire, has died.
Holer died at his Chippawa Parkway home Saturday morning after falling ill in recent weeks. He was 83.
"I can confirm that Mr. Holer passed away yesterday morning at home, peacefully in his sleep with his family around him," said Holer's attorney Andrew Burns when contacted Sunday.
"He was out of the picture for the last three weeks, for sure," added a long-time family friend who asked not to be named. "It's been a very sad few weeks."
The source said Holer had been in and out of hospitals for the past five months, including the Mayo Clinic for a week, as he was "failing."
"Back and forth. He was not in good shape."
Despite his poor health in recent years, Holer continued running Marineland, frequently driving through the facility in his familiar SUV.
The park opened for its 57th season last month.