TN St. Patrick’s Day parade ‘posthumously’ honors 16

Sean Brunner
Photo courtesy of Cynthia Brunner

As the Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day parade marches into its 20th year, more than a dozen individuals will be remembered for their contributions to the community.

Marching alongside grand marshals Eileen and Peadar Tierney when the parade steps off at noon on Sunday, March 11 from East Tremont and Lafayette avenues will be groups remembering the memories of 16 posthumously commended honorary grand marshals.

The Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade Honorary Grand Marshals are individuals who have contributed to the community in one way or another, said Chris Dalton, parade committee member.

They are Angela Berger, Sean Brunner, Ted Carstenson, Brendan Devine, Fr. Paul Devine, Anthony DiGirolamo, Florence Robinson Evers, Mary Elizabeth Finucane, Joseph Francis Finucane, James Kelly, Robert Leidy, Winifred ‘Kay’ Loreth, Lynn Marie Rasmussen-Devine, Charlie Reilly, Andy Werkhoven and Maureen Zawar.

Community activist Pat Devine has two family members being honored, his brothers Fr. Paul and Brendan.

Paul Devine is believed to be the first priest to be ordained at St. Benedict’s Church and Brendan was a 20-year U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam, said Devine.

“He would have been humbled,” said Devine of his brother Brendan. “My mom was also an honorary grand marshal, and I was a grand marshal of this parade.”

Members of the Devine extended family are coming from the Carolinas, New Jersey and Long Island to march, and they have had a banner made for the occasion.

“It is great that both of them got honored,” said Devine.

Fr. Paul was very involved in the Irish community, said Devine.

Lynn Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Karen Rasmussen

Karen Rasmussen, sister of Lynn, said that her sister would usually be at the Redwood Club on parade day helping to make sandwiches for marchers who would attend an after-parade party.

If she knew she was being remembered in this way, Lynn would have been thrilled, said Rasmussen.

“This would really have put a big smile on her face,” said her sister.

Lynn is remembered by her family as an avid reader who loved books since she was a child, as well as a 30-year veteran of various iterations of the city’s telephone company, an avid baker who was known for her cheesecake and a beloved godmother and aunt.

For Cynthia Brunner, husband of Sean Brunner, marching in the parade with her three children and family will bring a sense of closure following the passing of her husband, who enjoyed the parade and who passed away on parade day.

Brunner said that if her husband knew he was being honored, he would probably want to march wearing a big, goofy green hat, or would want to ride his quad all-terrain vehicle along the route.

“He was a goofball, and could be sarcastic and funny,” she explained, adding that this was a way he would deal with a bit of shyness.

Brunner was a skilled, self-taught handyman and tattoo artist.

He proposed to Cynthia on his way to a 50th anniversary celebration for his grandparents, who were married on St. Patrick’s Day, his wife said.

After the parade steps off, it makes it way along East Tremont Avenue to a reviewing stand, located at Harding Avenue.

Brendan Devine
Photo courtesy of the TN St. Patrick’s Parade Committee

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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