Friday, March 14, 2025

Deputy Grand Marshal

Deputy Grand Marshal
Abbott Augustine Curley

Greetings to all who honor St. Patrick and celebrate the contributions of the Irish in our city!

I first want to thank the parade committee for the honor bestowed on me. I see it as not only honoring me, but at the same time honoring the Benedictine community that has been here in Newark since 1857. I attended St. Benedict’s Prep, the monastery school, and, after college and graduate school, returned to Newark to commit my life as a member of Newark Abbey. Having served the monastic community in a number of positions over the years, I was elected Abbot in May of 2022.

I come from a proud Irish family who always celebrated their Irish roots. On my mother’s side, I can trace my ancestry back to the Donnellys and McLaughlins of Dromore, County Tyrone, a town that was set on fire during the 1798 rebellion because it was filled with rebels. Hugh Donnelly settled in what was then the Second River section of Newark by the mid-1820s. I grew up hearing stories of the members of the family traveling to New York for the sacraments, since there was as yet no Catholic Church in Newark. In the 1840s they were followed by the Bradleys and the Haleys. The Haleys originated in Rahara, County Roscommon. In the early 1850s, the Connollys arrived from County Sligo. The last to arrive on my mother’s side were the McEnerys, who came from Crean, Monagea, County Limerick, in the 1860s.

Through DNA, I was able to conclude a fifty-year quest to find out about my father’s side of the family, when I connected with Curley relatives. Just recently I was able to travel to Ireland and visit the places where the Curleys lived: Kinvara, County Galway, and, later, Dublin, where my great-grandfather was involved in the Fenian uprising and as a leader in the Land League. My father’s mother was a Kilcommons, whose father had come from Keelogues east in County Galway.

For a number of years I have been writing and speaking about the Irish of New Jersey, particularly the Irish of Essex County. My genealogical research has enhanced my historical research and uncovered various facets of the Irish experience in New Jersey that do not appear in the written record.  

I am grateful for the support of my family, of my monastic community, and of the wider communities of Newark Abbey, St. Benedict’s Prep, and St. Mary’s Parish. Let us all pray for each other as we continue to devote ourselves to the faith that Saint Patrick embraced and passed down to us. May we, with the help of St. Patrick, remain faithful to the faith of our forebears.

Deputy Grand Marshal
Gwen Glazier

  Gwen is a life-long resident of the Oranges, currently residing in West Orange, NJ.  She is the youngest child of the late Anna (nee Beirne) and Harry Glazier.  Her maternal grandparents Thomas Beirne and Mary Rush emigrated from Roscommon County, Frenchpark & Elphin respectively, to America in the late 1890s.  She is forever grateful to her Mother, Anna, for continuing to keep the Irish spirit alive for her family and enabling us to pass the traditions along to the next generation. 

 Gwen’s siblings include one brother, Harry Glazier of Franklin, NJ and two sisters, the late Mary Elaine Hubert formerly of Roseland, NJ and Ann Wehmeyer of West Caldwell, NJ.  Gwen graduated from Our Lady of the Valley High School and Caldwell University with a BS, Business Administration degree.  Until retirement, Gwen was employed with Prudential Financial/Aetna for 40 years with her last position held as Director, National Accounts providing Group Life & Health Benefits to some of their largest national clients.  Following retirement, she has held various part-time positions to include consulting for Towers Watson, an assistant at St. Joseph’s Church After School Program and up until recently was employed as Benefit Counselor for MetLife and Prudential.   She is a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church, West Orange.

Gwen is proud to be the current President of the Women of Irish Heritage, serving her third term as President.  Previous WOIH positions included Vice President and Financial Secretary in addition to chairing several WOIH Annual Events.  She was honored to be the 2017 Deputy Grand Marshal of the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 2018 McGovern Association Honoree, 2021 Friends of Brian Boru Honoree and a recipient of the 2021 Irish Echo Rebuilder Award.  She serves on the Newark and West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committees and an active member of the Committee for the 100th Anniversary Rising held in Newark, NJ in April 2016.  She holds the positions of Trustee for the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Secretary for the Friends of Brian Boru, and continues her support of our partner Irish Organizations to include the Friendly Sons of Shillelagh and Ancient Order of Hibernians. 

  Travels to Ireland have included the 1992 Cryan-Giblin Reunion group, 2004 Caldwell College International Study group, and in 2018, marched in the Bundoran (Donegal) St. Patrick’s Day Parade with the Women of Irish Heritage, Northern NJ.  She has supported and marched in a record number of St. Patrick Day Parades over the years to include Newark, Nutley, West Orange and Pearl River, NY.

  A non-irish family tidbit is her father’s Great Uncle, William E. Glazier, relocated to West Orange from Philadelphia in 1878 to take charge of the Stetson Mfg. Company.  In 1883 it was incorporated as the “No Name Hat Factory” of which he was a partner.  He was subsequently elected to the West Orange Town Council (consecutive terms).  To this day, his name appears with other 1903 Town Council Members above the Timothy Graves Police Sub-Station Building on Washington Street in West Orange.

 She is humbled and proud to be selected as the 2024 Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade Deputy Grand Marshal and, as she steps off on March 15th, she will fondly remember her grandparents and parents who paved the way for their family in keeping the tradition alive.  She is thankful for the continued support of family and friends and honored to lead such a talented group as the Women of Irish Heritage. 

Deputy Grand Marshal
Kevin Reilly.

It is both an honor and a privilege to be Deputy Grand Marshal in the 89th Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  When the General Chairwoman, Susan Gartland, reached out to me asking if I would be interested in this position, my response was a quick and definitive, thank you very much.  I would be honored.

My Irish Heritage has always been an important part of my life.  Both my mother and father have Irish lineage from County Cork and County Kerry.  Growing up as an Irish American has taught me some core values and disciplines that I am now passing down to my two daughters, Madison and Tiernan.

One of the values that I was taught at a young age was community service.  There is not better feeling in the world than to give to your fellow man and expecting nothing in return.  After graduating Kean College with a B.S. in Management in 1992, I was looking for more meaning in life.  In July 1996, I was appointed to the position of Firefighter with The Newark Fire Department.  I served the community for 27 years and 2 months, retiring October 1, 2023.  I rose through the ranks to my final position as Deputy Chief.  Being a Newark Firefighter is something that is extremely important to me.  It was a journal I feel blessed I was able to travel.

Today, as I marched up the parade route.  I will be able to encompass both my Irish heritage while representing the city that served and love so much.  To my wife Lynette, and our daughters Madison & Tiernan, thank you for always being by my side and showing your love and support. 

To my Chief of Staff, Jack Doll and my Aides Darren Rispoli, Don Gilmartin, Lynette Reilly, and Nora McGarth, none of this would be possible without your hard work and dedication.