Meet John Persinger

Erie means a lot to my family.

My grandpa, Dr. John DeMarco, moved to Erie in 1952 to build a new life with his wife, Dorothy, and twin baby daughters.

To me, he embodied the American dream.

Grandpa was the son of Italian immigrants, who owned a grocery store in Dunbar, Pennsylvania and spoke Italian. He was expected to take over the family store, but he had his sights set on medical school instead.

As an obstetrician, he ended up delivering over 12,000 babies in Erie. He also raised a large family of his own, including my mom, Julia DeMarco Persinger, and my uncles, local dentists Drs. David and Patrick DeMarco.

My grandpa and my parents taught me the value of hard work and the importance of a good education.

For undergraduate, I went to Harvard, where I was the captain of the swim team and competed in the 2000 US Olympic team trials.

After college, I had a career in public service, including serving as an aide in the White House and in a chief-of-staff role at the US Embassy in Australia. There were nearly 700 employees at the embassy and consulates and 300 American family members under the Ambassador’s supervision. I left government service to go to Notre Dame Law School.

After law school, I decided to follow my grandpa’s footsteps by settling in Erie with my wife, Sarah, my baby daughter, and another baby girl on the way. We saw Erie as a great place to raise a family, just like my grandpa did.

Since we moved to Erie, I’ve worked as an attorney at MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton.  I help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and family companies to grow, innovate, hire new employees, and invest in Erie.  Outside of the office, I’ve served as a mentor to companies in the Erie Technology Incubator program and as a judge for the Innovation Erie design competition.

In my spare time, I enjoy writing fiction.  My first novel, The Saint Joseph Plot, can be found in local stores, including Werner Books and Romolo’s.

Paid for by Friends of John Persinger

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Meet John Persinger

John Persinger, 35, has deep roots in Erie and great pride in the City.

He is the grandson of Dr. John DeMarco, a much-loved Erie obstetrician, who moved to the City in 1952 to start a new life with his wife, Dorothy, and twin baby daughters.

Dr. DeMarco—the son of Italian immigrants who owned a grocery store in Dunbar, Pennsylvania—delivered over 12,000 babies in Erie, while raising a large family of his own, including John’s mother, Julia DeMarco Persinger, and local dentists Drs. David and Patrick DeMarco.

Over 60 years later, John decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps by settling in Erie with his wife, Sarah, his baby daughter, and another baby girl on the way.

He did this after having a career in public service, including serving as an aide in the White House and in a chief-of-staff role at the US Embassy in Australia, where there were nearly 700 employees at the Embassy and Consulates and 300 American family members under the Ambassador’s supervision.

Since moving to Erie, John has worked as an attorney at MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, northwest Pennsylvania’s oldest law firm.  He advises small businesses, entrepreneurs, and family companies on a range of legal issues, and helps them to expand, innovate, and hire new employees.  Outside of the office, John has served as a mentor to companies in the Erie Technology Incubator program and as a judge for the Innovation Erie design competition.

John credits his family—including his father, Joseph Persinger, a Catholic Deacon—with instilling in him his focus, drive, determination, and desire to serve the community.

He is a graduate of Notre Dame University Law School and Harvard University, where he was the captain of the swim team and competed in the 2000 US Olympic team trials.

John is married to Sarah Smiles Persinger, a former journalist and graduate of the American University of Beirut.  The couple has three young children—two daughters and a son.

In his spare time, John writes fiction.  His first novel, The Saint Joseph Plot, can be found in local stores, including Werner Books and Romolo’s.  He has appeared at the Chicago Tribune’s book festival and at bookstores throughout the country.