A sea of resplendent green marchers will take to the streets in Throggs Neck on Sunday, March 13 for the 13th annual Bronx St. Patrick’s Day parade.
But the celebration will also be tempered by the solemn remembrance of 17 individuals who will be posthumously honored.
A new name has been added to the list of honorary grand marshals, whose families will march behind grand marshals Pat Devine and Mary Holt Moore and honored clergy Sr. Christine Hennessay when the parade kicks off from E. Tremont and Lafayette avenues.
The family of Earl “Chris” Christensen was thrilled to learn that he was recently named an honorary grand marshal, joining the families of Gerald Baumann Sr., Nora Browne, Joann Duffy Collins, William Donovan, James Hooks, Joanne Jackson, John “Jack” Kelly, Mary Sullivan Koester, Frank McSherry, Anna Mullins, Bridget O’Farrell, Joseph O’Grady, Gerard Shadwick, Michael Tierney and John Walker in remembering their loved ones.
“He always enjoyed watching the parade near Charlie’s Inn at Balcom and Harding avenues, when it used to end there,” his wife Veronica said. “He probably would have been flabbergasted to know that he was being honored.”
Christensen’s daughter, Veronica Mazurkiewicz, is already a regular fixture in the parade, marching yearly with the New York State Court Officers band. Christensen’s three other children Christopher, John, and Michelle, and nine grandchildren, will also likely be marching this year to remember their grandfather.
Jack Kelly, a retired, decorated NYPD detective with more than 30 years of service who enjoyed watching the parade from its very beginnings, lived in Throggs Neck since he was 16-years-old until his passing at the age of 83.
Being honored in the parade would have been a great thrill for a humble man who was proud to serve his country in the Navy in World War II and his community as a police officer, his daughter-in-law Kathy Kelly said.
“He was unassuming, and to be honored like this would have been a real thrill,” Kelly said. “He was very typical of the ‘greatest generation’ in that he never complained and just did what he was told.”
Being an honorary grand marshal is a special tribute to the memory of Joanne Jackson, who did a lot of leg work when the Throggs Neck Benevolent Association, whose members organize the parade, was founded in 1993.
“She was a volunteer for some of the first fund raisers the TNBA had,” said husband Bob Jackson. “She also liked to attend the parade. I am a bartender and she would sit outside of whatever bar I was working at and watch the parade with my children and grandchildren.”
She would enjoy dressing in green with her family, wearing green sweaters and Irish style hats, her husband said.
“Joanne liked the camaraderie of the parade, the bands, and seeing old friends,” Jackson said.