2000-02-26 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter

Beverly Baxter (left), accepting the award of deputy grand marshal on behalf of Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan, joins honorees (from left) Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, D. Brian Heffernan and Judge Ann Dufficy at the Antun's gala.

Wave columnist and parade committee secretary Beverly Baxter shares a precious moment with parade founder and president emeritus James Conway Sullivan at the parade ball held at Antun's.

Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee
held its 25th annual ball on Saturday evening, February 19 at Antun's in Queens Village. Nearly 400 people dined and danced the night away to the fabulous Richie O'Shea orchestra. It was an elegant affair where our honorees made their formal debut and were presented with their tri-color sashes. The event was expeditiously co-chaired by Peggy and William Neville who worked diligently, along with their committee to ensure the evening's success.

Our selected honorees for this milestone parade 2000 are bestowed with
the most esteemed honor within the Irish community. Those selected have met certain criteria. Through their work on behalf of Irish causes, they have distinguished themselves to the committee. They are: Rosemary Lombard, female grand marshal, hails from the beautiful county of Sligo. Ms. Lombard was the first woman elected president of the Mayo Society, former president of the Ladies A.O.H., Division 3, New York County, current president of the
L.A.O.H. County Board, and first vice president of the United Irish Counties Association. Jack Ahern, male grand marshal, is the current business manager of Local 30. He is an officer and delegate to many labor affiliates and labor councils. Jack has been endowed with many honors on behalf of the Irish community. He was the County Cork B.P.P. Association's 1998 "Man of the
Year", an active member of the Irish American Labor Coalition, and honored by the Irish Apstolate for his work on behalf of Irish Services Inc.

Now for our local honorees! This year, the first of the new
millennium, our parade will be led with pride by some of the most wonderful people whom I have had the personal pleasure of knowing. They have been selected for their outstanding achievements or subtle endeavors on behalf of the Irish community. Either way, they have caught our attention; and I'm
sure you will agree that our community is enhanced because of them. Our honorary female grand marshal is Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey. I think her name says it all and clearly explains why we have chosen to honor her. She comes from a distinguished family of accomplished educators, she has a pro-active spirit of civic responsibility, and has dedicated most of her professional life toward the advancement of women's issues, quality of life issues for senior citizens, and labor union relations. I don't think this woman has slept since the day she was born! Dr. Chapey is a professor at Kingsborough Community College, she is the female Democratic district leader, president of the Regular Democratic Club, and still manages to pen three weekly columns. The pitch and pace of her life is exemplary. After all, she is the daughter of Dr. Geraldine Donnelly-Chapey and the late Robert Chapey.
Geraldine was accompanied to the gala by her fabulous husband, Eugene Pasternak, Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey and Mr. John Dolan, and Dr. Roberta Chapey. Among the guests of the Chapey-Pasternaks were Assemblyman Dennis Butler and his wife Mary, Sister Mary Beatta, and Queens County Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long and his wife Anke. Dr. Chapey is perhaps one of the most gracious woman I know. I am delighted to be her friend.

Our parade will also be led by Honorary Grand Marshal Lew M. Simon. Lew has long been a supporter of the Irish community; and although he is not Irish, he in many ways typifies many of the Irish qualities of perseverance and triumph over adversity. Lew is the male Democratic district leader and president of the Good Government Democratic Club. In attendance at Mr. Simon's table were Mary Rooney, John McLouglin, Sara Berger, Mary and Ben Lenihan, and Mr. and Mrs. Andy McGee.

Among our 11 deputy grand marshals there is one woman whom I
consider to be the unsung inspiration for the creation of the Queens County
Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee. Her name is Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan. I feel it most appropriate that on this august occasion of our parade's 25th anniversary that we will honor her. Mrs. Sullivan is
the mother of James Conway Sullivan, who founded this parade; and one can only imagine how she encouraged her son to continue his vision of a parade in honor of Saint Patrick for the Irish people of Rockaway from its most humble beginnings when it was contemptuously ridiculed as "Sullivan's Follies" by the local press of that time. Mrs. Sullivan was raised on Tony Riverside drive on Manhattan's upper west side and had the many advantages of a privileged youth; but it was an inner strength that is so prevalent
amongst the Irish people that enabled her to persevere when she was tested by life's challenges. A widow at an unfairly young age, she raised four
outstanding children on her own, and each one is a credit and tribute to
her. Always an appropriate and gracious lady, she wears her heritage well. It would be only most appropriate that we honor and dedicate this milestone parade to her.

Although I don't know well all the personal stories of all the honorees, Judge Ann B. Dufficy, Betty Dermody, Chris Bowles, William Lavin, Frank Dowd, Robert Johnson, William Flaherty, Michael McCarthy, D. Brian Heffernan, and Councilman Al Stabile, their names were brought before the committee for consideration because they all in their own individual way epitomize and capture the best qualities of the Irish people. Congratulations to Michael A. Benn and his family for a successful evening.

***It was so nice to see former honorees Mary Leahy, Rockaway Action Committee President Harold Rochelle and his lovely wife Bernadette enjoying the evening. They always support our parade events and we appreciate their
continuous support.

***Our Last fundraiser of the parade season will be held today, Saturday, from 3-7pm at the Palm Garden Pub. Your host, and parade vice president, Owen Baxter, urges the community to come out and support our last fundraising event. The Martin Quinn Band will perform and their will be an open bar and food. Tickets are $20 per person.

***My condolences to my friends Barbara and Dennis Morris on the loss of Dennis' mother Catherine Morris.

See you....at the parade!


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