The 68th Grand Marshal of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade is Roger J. Reidy, Jr.
Roger is a 27-year member of the Parade Committee and for even more years – a faithful servant to his family, Church, and community.
Born in 1962, he is the son of Roger and Jeanne (Villamaire) Reidy. He grew up in a busy household in Bemis Heights, the second youngest of seven siblings. He is a proud product of the Holyoke Public schools, attending EN White and Holyoke High School. At an early age, Roger knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the family’s oil business. Upon high school graduation, he enrolled in Denver Automotive and Diesel College and graduated summa cum laude with an Associate Degree in Applied Science.
Shortly after returning to Holyoke, Roger swept the love of his life, Margaret (O’Hare) Reidy, off her feet on a blind date to the classic love song “Lady in Red” (yes, she was wearing red). Married for thirty-one years, they have been blessed with two children. Ashley, 30 is a Physician Assistant and was the 2008 Grand Colleen and Miss Congeniality. R. John, III is currently working towards his MS in Industrial and Organization Psychology at Springfield College and shares his father’s gift of cooking.
Upon the retirement his father, young Roger began his independent company Reidy Heating & Cooling Inc. with all the knowledge and wisdom passed down from his father on how to properly run a business and always put customers’ needs first.
The faith that was instilled in him from his early years continues to inspire him in his work as a Eucharistic Minister and Chair of the Finance Counsel at Holyoke’s Blessed Sacrament Church. He also has wonderful memories celebrating his faith with Ashley as part of the Diocesan Youth Council at various conferences around the country and world. In his community, Roger is a former Commissioner of the Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department and frequent contributor to a number of charitable events, especially youth sports. He also served as a coach for his son’s sports teams and was an enthusiastic member of the “chain gang” – serving as the loudest fan of the sideline for his son’s varsity football games at Holyoke High.
Roger’s membership on the Parade Committee has been a large part of Roger’s adult life. Seeing the positive impact that the Parade has had not only on the Irish community but on the entire city of Holyoke, serves as Roger’s driving force to continue serving on the Committee. Throughout his tenure, he has given countless hours serving in a multitude of leadership positions including Chief of Staff, Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of many other committees. Roger proudly served as Parade President in 2003 and was the O’Connell Award Recipient in 2006.
Roger believes that above all else, family, faith, and hard work are values that can never be short-changed. That when fighting for something you truly believe in, enough is never enough, it’s “whatever it takes”. This is a true reflection of the traditions that hold us together as Irish-Americans.
Above all, Roger is grateful for this tradition that lives on, rain or shine. The Parade stands strong through politics, issues, or weather. He is grateful for the families that are brought together (especially his own), the smiles and laughs that are shared, the wind-kissed cheeks, and the sense of community it brings regardless of race, social class, or ethnicity. The Parade holds us together as Irish-Americans and Holyokers! March On!
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