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Past Grand Marshals John Jordan (2012) and Marty Quirk (2007) receive their sashes
2011 Past Grand Marshal Father Jerome wears his sash proudly
21st St. Patrick's Parade a Success
Manchester, NH – For the 21st year in a row, the Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade stepped off at noon on Sunday, March 20. Upwards of 50,000 people were expected to line the one-mile course along Elm Street, from Salmon to Central Streets, to cheer for bagpipe bands, military units, high school bands and marching units of all types.
2013 Grand Marshal Gerry Holleran Passes
A complete obituary can be found at: Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory
Ray Caron Passes Away
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ray Caron. Ray was a long, long time point person at the start of the annual Saint Patrick's Parade each year and a huge help for the committee. He will be missed by many and all who he touched over his 71 years of life. For a complete obituary please click on www.mchughfuneralhome.com.
2016 Grand Marshals
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 resided 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, she is the mother to five adult children and the grandmother to thirteen grandchildren.
The 22nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off on Sunday, March 26th, 2017 on Elm Street in Manchester at 12 noon. More information will follow as the Parade Committee sets up the sponsors, bands, floats and other participants.
21st St. Patrick's Parade a Success
Manchester, NH – For the 21st year in a row, the Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade stepped off at noon on Sunday, March 29. Upwards of 50,000 people were expected to line the one-mile course along Elm Street, from Salmon to Central Streets, to cheer for bagpipe bands, military units, high school bands and marching units of all types.
The parade planning committee is back at work to produce an over-the-top spectacle once again with sights and sounds to delight audiences of all ages in 2017.
The Shamrock Shuffle will precede the parade again this year. The Shuffle is a two-mile road race, which will take place at 11:15 a.m. Children’s races begin at 10:45 a.m. The course for the Shuffle has been changed this year to better accommodate the 3,000 runners, although it remains two miles.
Participants will begin at the Review Stand, located at Veteran’s Park, proceed south and turn right at Granite Street, and then turn right on Canal Street. Runners will turn right on Langdon Street and then again on Elm Street and proceed along the parade route to the finish, located back at the Parade Review Stand. Organizers are reporting a sold-out crowd of roughly 3,000 registrations for the fourth-year effort.
Attendees can help local food pantries by donating canned goods and non-perishable food items to New Horizons. Drop off locations will be located in the Pappy’s Pizza parking lot as well as the corners of Bridge & Elm Streets and Merrimack & Elm Streets. The final vehicle in the parade will also be a New Horizons pickup vehicle, to collect donations from people not in the vicinity of a drop-off.
The parade costs more than $50,000 to produce each year and the full amount is raised in private donations. No city or other public money goes to fund this event. Donations from individuals and businesses help to defray the cost of marching units, security and other crucial operating expenses.
Major sponsors include Millennium Running, Fairpoint Communications, and The Anagnost Companies. Media sponsors for this year’s parade are The Union Leader, Rock 101, WZID/WFEA and the Binnie Media Group, including Frank FM, WJYY and The Wolf.
How is Parade Day Chosen?
We get asked all the time: Why is the parade held so long after St. Patrick’s Day?
- 1.On St. Patrick’s Day itself, plus the Saturday and Sunday before and after there are parades in other Irish towns like Boston, Newport, Syracuse, Holyoke and Worcester. Many of the best marching units participate in multiple parades so, if our local parade was scheduled on a day that competes with another parade, the Manchester parade would lose out on certain entertainment units. The Committee made a decision years ago to put on the best parade possible, and that means not competing with any of the other major parades.
- 2.Several years ago the Committee decided the parade would be held the last Sunday in March with the hope that we’re another week or two closer to spring and, thereby, have a better chance at good weather.
- 3.Bonus: it’s another day to get out of the house at the end of winter and enjoy some family fun!