Welcome to the St. Patrick's Parade Website
2016 Grand Marshals Named
Grand Marshal Bill Biser
William Darcy Biser was born in a small New York State town and was raised in Buffalo and Syracuse. During the time his parents and sister lived in Syracuse, Bill graduated from Most Holy Rosary High School in 1958 and the University of Notre Dame in 1962. Via ROTC he was commissioned a US Army officer and had a number of high adventure experiences while on active duty through 1965.
Following the military Bill worked many years at an international CPA firm’s offices in Manhattan, Denver and Boston. After living in Norwood, MA for five years, the family moved to New Hampshire in 1984 and still live in the same Bedford house. After positions in banking and other industries, Bill took a financial post at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and recently retired after 12 enjoyable years.
Bill’s Irish roots seemed to get activated after moving here. Maternal grandson of a County Wexford man, there was always an Irish guy underneath his German surname. With grandparents named Darcy, Doyle and McGinty, he was well credentialed in 1987 to join Manchester Division 1 of the AOH, a stellar Irish Catholic organization. Bill’s first elected position was Treasurer and over the following years he held every officer position, becoming Division 1 President in 1995 and serving three memorable years through 1997. Although not a founder of two remarkable Irish cultural groups, during Bill’s AOH Presidency there arose the New Hampshire AOH Pipes & Drums Band and the Saint Patrick’s Parade Committee, which staged the first Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade in 90 years. In the early days of the Parade Committee, Bill advised on financial matters from the sidelines with no role in Parade operations. That changed when he was elected Treasurer and worked with Jim Sheehan, who was Parade Coordinator for an astounding 11 years. Bill assumed Coordinator responsibilities in 2009 and served through 2015, the Parade’s 20th anniversary. No longer Coordinator, nevertheless he’s still a Committee member.
Other than Irish activities, Bill’s volunteerism much of his life relates mostly to Veterans, although he did serve on the Board of the New Hampshire Society of CPAs and on the Delta Dental of New Hampshire Board. His American Legion involvement started decades ago, at which time he learned, “Once they find out you’re a CPA, it’s only a matter of time before you’re Treasurer!” (See above). He was Finance Officer at Norwood Post 70 and, after moving here and transferring to Sweeney Post 2, he got appointed “interim” chair of its Finance Committee. No surprise, that duty carries on to this day. Bill also chairs the Finance Committee of the Department of New Hampshire American Legion. Committed to support fellow veterans, Bill is also Treasurer of Catholic War Veterans Post 1341, a Trustee at AMVETS Post 2 and Assistant Treasurer of the nationwide US Army Ranger Association. He holds life memberships in Queen City Post 18 DAV and the Military Officers Association of America.
In spite of family obligations, demanding jobs and volunteering, shortly after moving from MA Bill signed up with the New Hampshire Army National Guard and served until his 2002 military retirement. Later on he joined the Knights of Columbus and eventually became a 4th Degree Knight at K of C Council 5112. Bill’s a long time member of St. Raphael Parish and acknowledges he gets along well with the feisty Irish monk who is Pastor, Rev. Jerome J. Day, OSB.
Mary Ellen and Bill have children with conspicuously Celtic names – Brian, Margaret, Maureen, Meaghan, Molly – who are the parents of 13 grandchildren ranging in age from 3 months to 12 years. One must assume their family gatherings are occasions of joyful Irish noise, loving confusion and deep affection.
Grand Marshal Mary Ellen Biser
Mary Ellen Riley H. Biser was born in Keene, NH and raised in Arlington Ma and Cape Cod. She graduated from Arlington High School and Wyndham Jr. College.
Mary Ellen moved to Manchester in 1979 and then to Bedford in 1993 where she still resides today along with her husband and Co-Grand Marshal, Bill. In addition, she is the mother to five adult children and the grandmother to thirteen grandchildren.
She volunteered at Beth Israel Hospital and Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, MA as well as Purder Valley Hospital in Ft Collins, Colo.
Mary Ellen is very devoted to her family. Along with all of the duties assumed as a mother, she also served as a Team Mother for son’s East Little League baseball team, Cub Scout Den Mother for her son’s Cub Scout Pack and Brownie Mother for daughter’s Brownie Troop.
Mary Ellen is also devoted to her faith. She is a Board Member for Manchester East Catholic Schools and served as Vice President of the Trinity Booster Club for six years. She also taught CCD for St Elizabeth Seton for three years
On the civic side Mary Ellen continues to give of her precious time. She is a 22-year member of the Sweeney Post Auxiliary, the founding President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1996 and founding President of the State Board of the now-defunct LAOH State Board.
Mary Ellen joined the St Patrick’s Parade Committee in it’s third year as a Committee Member. After a couple of years, she became the Secretary. After husband Bill became the Coordinator, she left the secretarial position and became Bill’s assistant until the end of the 20th Parade last year. Mary Ellen was also the Grand Marshal Liaison for the past ten years. She did retire from the Committee almost four years ago!!
“Because of my love for medicine and hospitals, I have volunteered since I was married in 1970. I joined the Elliot Associates in January of 1984 and have volunteered since that time serving two terms on the Elliot Board of Trustees. I have been active in the Baby Portrait Program, the Finance Committee, the Antique Shows, the Christmas Craft Fairs, and many other programs. When I became President of the Elliot Associates it was during the Optima Health time and continued on to be on the Elliot Special Board when Optima broke up. This was an extremely busy time but a time where the Special Board had to make a decision whether to stay with Catholic Medical Center or to split and start on our own again. We went on to start on our own and this was an intense but educational time for me and the Elliot. I am still on the Elliot Associates Board.”
Because of her connection with the Elliot, she was invited to join the New Hampshire Association of Hospital Auxiliaries. Mary Ellen joined 16 years ago and has enjoyed being a part of a state wide Board to educate other hospital auxiliaries in our state about the newest ideas in their hospitals and volunteers.
In addition, she is married to Bill Biser, the mother to five adult children and the grandmother to thirteen grandchildren.
The 2016 Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held on Sunday, March 20, 2016.
It will step off at noon on Elm Street in Manchester, RAIN OR SHINE, and proceed from Salmon to Central Street.
Many people wonder why the parade is not held on the actual day that others celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The answer is quite simple. It is vary hard to compete with the likes of Boston and New York when it comes to attracting quality bands, marching units and floats on the actual day. Besides...St. Patrick's Day is a period of time, not a day, so why not streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch it out a little!!
The 20th Anniversary - Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade was held on March 29, 2015.
Important Information for Parade Day
Photos from the 2013 Shamrock Painting on Elm Street
A spcial thanks to our sponsors who helped us paint!
Tom King (Grand Marshal Emeritus)