James Ginty was a founding member of the FDNY’s Emerald Society Pipes and Drums
James Ginty, the founder of the FDNY’s Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, passed away at his Long Island home on October 15. He was 84 years old.
Ginty was born to Irish immigrants in the Bronx and served with the Marine Corps in Korea from 1953 to 1954.
Upon returning home from Korea, Ginty took the civil service exams, and according to his son Patrick the FDNY was the first to get back to him.
Ginty went on to serve for 34 years in the FDNY and was awarded two major honors for his heroics: the Thomas A. Kenny Memorial Medal and the Third Alarm Association Medal.
In 1962, five years after joining the FDNY, Ginty and his childhood friend Jim Corcoran motioned to found the Pipes and Drums while at an FDNY Emerald Society meeting.
“It was a tremendous morale booster," Ginty’s longtime friend Ed McLoughlin told Newsday. McLoughlin was present at that now historic meeting.
However, "No one knew how to play,” says McLoughlin. “It took a lot of time and patience.” Practice sessions were often held in bars on the Bronx’s Tremont and Webster Avenues.
A year after its inception, the FDNY Emerald Society’s Pipes and Drums marched up New York City’s Fifth Avenue in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
"It’s amazing that across the U.S. you cannot imagine a fire department without a bag and pipe band,” McLoughlin said to Newsday. “That all came from New York City and that is Jimmy’s legacy."
After 9/11, Ginty played at every one of the firefighter's funerals.
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“Jimmy was a legend of the FDNY and his presence will be missed greatly by the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums,” the band wrote on its Facebook page after Ginty's death.
It is with profound sadness the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums announces the passing of charter member James...Posted by FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums on Monday, October 15, 2018
The page also posted a video of the band rehearsing prior to Ginty's funeral:
Warming up for Jimmy Ginty’s funeral.Posted by FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums on Friday, October 19, 2018
Jim’s son Patrick, who offered a eulogy at his father’s funeral services, said the band is “world renowned and it’s all because of him and 15 other guys who were proud of their heritage and their camaraderie.”
Ginty was laid to rest at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Smithtown on Long Island.