In what should be a bright green shamrock of a day, 21 community members will be posthumously honored during the Bronx St. Patrick’s Parade.
The 16th annual parade will kick off at noon on Sunday, March 16 at E. Tremont and Lafayette avenues, and will roll along past a reviewing stand at Harding Avenue.
The grand marshals are Denis and Noreen Donoghue, chosen for their volunteer work at Calvary Hospital, and Honored Clergy will be Mother Alice Mary McGowan of Jeanne Jugan Residence.
Joining them will be families of 21 honorary grand marshals, community members who passed away in the last year who are being honored for their outstanding contributions to their neighborhoods.
Typical of the honorary grand marshals are people who could best be described as everyday heros.
John Roche, whose mother Maureen Roche spent a lifetime in the Silver Beach section of Throggs Neck, said that the parade will have special significance when his family marches and approaches near where his mother lived.
“She lived her entire life in the Bronx, so heading up East Tremont Avenue toward Silver Beach, where my mother was born and raised, seems like a great way for our family to remember and honor her,” he said.
He added: “Right up to her death last January, the day of the Bronx Saint Patrick’s Parade each year was a special time for our family to mark Irish heritage, celebrate Bronx pride and spend time with family. So my mother would be thrilled at being remembered in this year’s parade as an honorary grand marshal along with such a wonderful group of fellow Bronxites.”
Eileen Fontaine, whose mother Ann Callahan is one of the honorary grand marshals, recalled that her mother, who also raised a family in Silver Beach before passing away last winter, enjoyed being a spectator.
“She enjoyed the parade, and would watch it every year with a group of friends outside of The Wicked Wolf or Casey’s on E. Tremont Avenue,” said Fontaine, adding that in the early years of the parade, she also went to the parade mass at St. Benedict’s Church.
Margo McGinty, daughter of honorary grand marshal Jacqueline McGinty, said that her entire family will be marching in the parade wearing scarfs and Irish Claddagh pins that belonged to her mother.
“She would have been thrilled to have been honored this way, and probably a little embarrassed, because she was a very shy person,” she said.
For honorary grand marshal Mary Broderick, the parade was a chance to celebrate her Irish heritage, and her youth in County Clare. She came to American when she was 18, and enjoyed last year’s parade even through a decline in her health, her son Mike Broderick said.
“She passed away on March 30th, and one of the last things she did was muster up the strength to stay at a friends house, right on E. Tremont Avenue, to watch the parade,” he said.
The full list of honorary grand marshals: Tyler Albert, Donald Bloss, Mary Broderick, John Byrne, Ann Callahan, Ken Champlin, Steve Cioffi, Jack Featherstone, Richard Howley, Marion Hughes, Billy Kane, Edward Madden, John McCarthy, Bernard McCooey, Jacqueline “Jackie” McGinty, Brian Nash, Florence O’Connor, Chris Provenzano, Maureen Roche, Michael Sack, and Mike Tarpey.