The Grand Marshal for the 250th St.Patrick’s Day Parade in New York will be thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark Irishcentral.com has learned.
She will be officially announced as the 2011 honoree by the parade committee on Monday, November 8th at the Irish Consulate in New York.
The parade committee had initially asked Irish president Mary McAleese to be the honoree on the 250th anniversary but she turned them down because she did not want her office to become embroiled in the gays in the parade issue.
Higgins Clark will be 83-years-old on St. Patrick’s Day 2011 and is the highest selling suspense writer in America. All 42 of her books are still in print.
Her books have sold more than 80 million copies in the United States.
She is a former medalist and is a current board member of the American Irish Historical Society.
She is the daughter of Irish immigrant Luke and Nora Clarke, of Irish descent, and she grew up in the Great Depression in The Bronx.
Her father owned a bar and the family remained well off comparatively speaking. However her father died young leaving her mother a widow and mother of three growing children.
Soon after her father’s death her young brother almost died from a foot infection and Higgins Clark believed he was saved by the power of prayer.
After graduation she worked as an air hostess for Pan Am and married her husband, Warren Clark, with whom she had four children .
When he died of a heart attack (her mother-in-law was so shocked she died at his bedside) she took to writing to pay college tuition for her children and proved spectacularly successful after a rocky start.
A devoted Catholic she has won the highest papal honor Dame of Saint Gregory and continues to support many Catholic charities.