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St. Patrick’s Day grand marshals set

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While the Bronx St. Patrick’s Day Parade is about fun and marching bands, it will also pay a solemn tribute to several men and women who made a difference in the borough, but have passed on.

Twenty late Bronx Irish Americans have been tapped as honorary grand marshals for the 2010 procession through Throggs Neck slated for Saturday, March 16.

The list of honorary grand marshals includes familiar name after familiar name: Marion Bollerman, Jack Callahan, Donald Collins, Jack Devany, Ed Geideman, Joan Heaney, Marge Hickey, Kerri Hogan, Ann Keegan, Thomas Kelly, Mary Kelly, Barbrara Kopyless, Sean Madigan, Kathy Marshall, Terence Monahan, James Quinn, Patricia Rossi, John Scott, Lorraine Sweeney and Rosemary Van Bomel.

Many of the honorary grand marshal’s family members will march in the parade, which kicks off at noon at the intersection of E. Tremont and Lafeyette avenues.

Betty Holder will remember her sister Kerri Hogan. Hogan worked as a waitress in the family business, Fidler’s Elbow at 3718 E. Tremont Avenue, when not at her full-time job. Her sister always loved the parade and was thrilled when the tradition began 12 years ago, Holder said.

“I think that she would be humbled and honored,” Holder remarked. “She was always there at Fiddler’s to make sure that everything was ready for the crowds that would come during the parade. She always made sure that there were necklaces or Irish pins and flags for kids outside watching the parade.”

Eileen Fontaine is glad that her father, honorary grand marshal Jack Callahan, a Korean War veteran, will join the parade again, at least in spirit.

“My father was active for many years in Silver Beach’s American Legion Post 1371,” Fontaine said. “He was an American first but had Irish roots and always loved the parade. He marched in the parade with his Legion Post.”

Fontaine’s son will march with the Metropolitan Transit Agency pipe band in the parade, living testament to her father, his grandfather.

Joan Quinn, sister of honorary grand marshal Margaret Hickey, recalled her sister’s love of Irish culture and frequent trips back to the old country, where she peformed genealogical research.

“If there’s one thing that I will miss about my sister, it‘ll be her love and knowledge of our family’s Irish history,” Quinn said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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