The families of the outstanding individuals being remembered for lifetimes of achievement in the 2009 Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade were moved by the gesture.
The parade, which is set for Sunday, March 15, will run much of the length of E. Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck, posthumously honoring 15 Irish-Americans who made special contributions to the area during their lifetimes.
Mary “Maureen” Caroll, Tony Collins, James Conroy, Mary Cunningham, Jeanne Dennis, Catherine Devine, John Hickson, “Spike” Keffner, Joan Laughlin, Dennis Lynch, Dennis O’Connell, Noreen O’Grady, Bill Reilly, John Sheehan, and John Tyrell are the honorary grand marshals being remembered by the 2009 Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.
Suzy Hickson remembered her father John, a firefighter and prizefighter who grew up in the Bronx during the Great Depression, as a man whose bravery was clearly evidenced by many daring rescues he made while with the FDNY.
“He was a one in a million guy who is really missed by his family – there is no doubt about that,” she said. “He passed away five weeks before the birth of my child, and it was tough being pregnant and having him gone.”
Hickson attained the rank of a lieutenant in the FDNY, and went back to school at night where he made the dean’s list every semester and successfully completed his college degree.
Marion Flaherty, daughter of 2009 honorary grand marshal Mary Cunningham, remembers her mother as a hard working woman whose main interest was taking care of her family.
Cunningham was born in Brooklyn in 1912, but moved back to Ireland before she was a year old. She returned to the United States in 1928, falling into the occupation of so many Irish immigrants of that era – working as a domestic. She stopped working in 1939, when she married and settled on Chatterton Avenue. She lived in the Bronx until 2003.
“She lived a fairly ordinary life – her main focus was taking care of her children,” Flaherty said. “Anyone in the community who needed help or who had just arrived from Ireland stayed with my parents.”
In 1959, when her children were grown, Cunningham went to work at the Kennedy Child Study Center in Manhattan, an agency that helps the disabled. She retired in 1980.
“She taught me to be caring, thoughtful, and tough,” Flaherty said.
Anyone interested in placing an ad or making a donation to the 2009 Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee can contact the Throggs Neck Benevolent Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 931-7749.