South Amboy St. Patrick's Day Parade Parade Honorees
Grand Marshal - Tim and Karen Walczak
Tim and Karen Walczak are life-long residents of South Amboy. Tim was born in South Amboy to Ann and Kenneth Walczak. Karen was born in Perth Amboy hospital to Anne and Richard Wyzykowski. They graduated together from H G Hoffman High School. Karen received her BS in Accounting from Seton Hall University. They have spent many years volunteering in their community. Tim is a volunteer fire fighter with the South Amboy Fire Department where he has served as an officer for many years and as Fire Chief in 2005. Tim and Karen are EMTs with the South Amboy First Aid Squad where they have also served as officers. Tim is currently the Captain and Karen is a Trustee. Since their children were born, Tim and Karen have also been active in youth baseball, softball, football and basketball.
The Walczak’s have been married for 36 years and are the proud parents of Christine, Tim & Andrew. They also have 3 beautiful granddaughters, Taylor, Mikayla & Abigail. Since 1993, Tim has been employed with the Middlesex County Utilities Authority and Karen with Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union. They are parishioners of St Mary Church.
Deputy Grand Marshal - Larry Parsons
Larry was born on December 26, 1954 in Perth Amboy. His family moved to South Amboy in January of 1956. He is the son of the late Ralph and Madeline Parsons. He graduated from Hoffman High School in 1972.
In April of 1973, Larry joined the Protection Engine Co #1 rising through the ranks and served as Captain in 1981 and has served as President for over 16 years. He is also a retired member if the South Amby First Aid Squad, serving as Chief Driver and also President in 1981. He served as Chief of the South Amboy Fire Department in 2001. He is an Honorary Member of Union Hose Co #2 in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Larry is a member of the South Amboy Relief Association, the secretary for the South Amboy Exempt Association, a member of the New Jersey Volunteer Chiefs Association and the Central Jersey Chiefs Associaiton. Larry currently serves as a member of the Office of Emergency management, as the Damage Assessment Officer.
He is currently living in South Amboy with his wife of 34 years, Debbie. He has two daughters, Stacy, of Hanover, PA., and Amanda and her partner Christina, of Brick, NJ. He also has two brothers, Dave of Charlotte, NC. and Bill of South Amboy.
Honorary Grand Marshal - Dennis Kelly
Dennis M. Kelly was born and raised in The City of South Amboy, New Jersey. He is the son of the late Colonel David B. Kelly and Geneva M. Kelly. Mr. Kelly is married to his wife, Patricia and has three children, sons Captain Dennis M. Kelly and his wife Kim of Rhode Island, Patrick D. Kelly of South Amboy and daughter, Ciara Kelly Aguirre and her husband Rafael. They have two grandchildren, Joselyn and Stephanie Aguirre.
Mr. Kelly is Managing Partner and Chief Executive Office of D. B. Kelly International, LLC. A leading contract security, consulting and investigative firm which includes companies APG Security Services, Sterling Investigative Services, APG Systems, LLC. and Cappamore Investments, LLC.
In 2017, Mr. Kelly received the honor of being knighted Sir. Dennis M. Kelly by his investiture in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchral by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. In addition, Mr. Kelly is the recipient of numerous industry and charitable organization awards.
Mr. Kelly serves on various boards such as the Chabad House-Lubavitch, Monmouth Medical Center, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Development Campaign, NASCO and TKO Private Equity Group. His philanthropy work through The Dennis & Patricia Kelly Foundation if extensive, highlighted by its support of the Wounded Warrior Project, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Saint Peter;s University Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Christian Brothers Academy, the New Jersey State Police Memorial Association, and numerous local organizations.
Mr. Kelly is a graduate of Seton Hall University, New York Institute of Security and Polygraph Science, and John Jay College of Security Management.
“I am deeply humbled by this honor and I thank the City of South Amboy, the South Amboy Parade Committee and its constituents for this opportunity. It is an even great honor to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of the past honorees whom have made significant contributions to this great City.
I am deeply proud to be from South Amboy and while I am no longer a resident, the great City and the great people will always have a special place in my heart and my life.”
Special Honored Guests
Mary was born in South Amboy Memorial Hospital where she would later start her professional career in Intensive Care Unit as a Registered Nurse and then as manager of the unit. An extensive nursing career led to her current position at J&J in the Global Medical Safety Operations group of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Her family goes back four generations in South Amboy, when in the late 1880’s three sets of great-grandparents settled “down the Bowery”, got married and raised families.
A graduate of Hoffman High School, Mary received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Thomas Edison State University and a Master of Science in Jurisprudence (MSJ) from Seton Hall Law School.
In 2011 she was elected President of the newly formed Historical Society of South Amboy (HSSA) and continues to serve in that role today. The HSSA was built from scratch and through the efforts of its members, has grown to the successful community driven organization it is today. She was instrumental in the creation of the South Amboy Historic Preservation Commission to safeguard our city’s rich historical heritage in 2018. As an active member of the South Amboy Planning/Zoning Board since 2015, Mary was elected Chairwoman in 2019.
She lives in town with her husband Joe, who was also born and raised in South Amboy and who serves on the South Amboy Historic Preservation Commission. Their family includes daughter Kellie and husband Jeff, son Kenny and wife Amy, and four beautiful grandchildren, Kenny, Kayla, Sam, and Marielle (her “Sweeties”).
“I am grateful to be chosen as an honorree and to be part of the fun-filled annual tradition ofg the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I consider myself ‘South Amboy Irish’ which is a dual privilege with deep historical roots. The parade, like history, brings us together to celebrate and reminisce while we strut some hometown pride for our small but remarkable little city”.
Karen M. Robson
With over 30 years of nonprofit experience in strengthening communities, Karen M. Robson was recently hired as the Director of Operations for the South Amboy YMCA. In her first few months, she formed a partnership with the City of South Amboy and the South Amboy School District to offer the Y’s Safety Around Water program to all second grade students. This program focuses on drowning prevention by teaching water safety and building confidence in our water-developing community.
Along with her branch board, she ran a successful annual support campaign, managed several grant-funded programs, and offered community-wide events were held to ensure all children, families, and seniors have access to the YMCA facility; including summer camp, child care, teen programs, senior classes, and chronic disease and wellness support.
Ms. Robson volunteers locally with the South Amboy Municipal Alliance, Green Week, Riley's Touch A Truck, SASAY Rotary, and Arts Alliance. She also volunteers as the Chair of the NJ YMCA Professional Network, CASA of Middlesex County, MCFOODS, and the Darkness to Light Foundation. Karen also recently hosted Governor Phil Murphy for a press conference at the Y highlighting the work of the City of South Amboy and the South Amboy YMCA. Karen loves the spirit a St. Patrick's Day parade brings to a community and has been marching statewide for over 40 years. You may recognize her locally as the woman driving the tractor down Broadway during the South Amboy parade!