Some of the faithful who have made major contributions to the
Union County St Patrick's Day Parade
They are together now and are part of the Eternal Parade
"St. Patrick & St. Brigid Pray for us (all of us)"
James Dennis Cogan was born and raised in Newark. His parents
were James Cogan and Rose (Coleman) Cogan. He graduated from St.
Benedict’s Prep in 1960. Dennis joined the Newark Fire Department
in 1970, retiring in 1998 with the rank of Captain.
While a member of the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Committee, Dennis served in a variety of different roles, including the
Grand Marshal’s Investiture Committee, Board of Trustees, Chief of
Staff for Marilyn Ryan 2002 Grand Marshal and Vice Chairman of the
Parade Committee, culminating in his selection as Parade Chairman for
the 2007 Parade.
He was honored by The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick with their
2003 Distinguished Service Award. Dennis volunteered his time for
a number of local organizations, as well as to his parish, St. Helen's
Church in Westfield. Dennis was also a Founding member of Board
of Directors of Sister Pat's Kids Camp for Children with Cancer.
Dennis passed away in February 2007, and is survived by his wife, Peggy,
and their three children - Daniel Cogan; Laura Cogan Cerria and Christopher
Cogan, as well as five grandchildren, Kelsey Cogan, Jack Cerria, Annie Cerria,
Brigid Cogan and Fiona Cogan , and his sisters, Rosemary Cogan, Marie Manalo
and Kathleen Cogan.
FATHER CHARLES HUDSON
Charles Hudson was born on March 9, 1935 in Jersey City, the oldest son
of Charles and Mary Hudson. His boyhood was typical for an Irish
Catholic growing up in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. He
went to Sacred Heart Grammar School and Saint Aloysius High School. He
entered the Immaculate Conception Seminary after High School. He was
ordained a priest on May 26, 1962.
In 1968, Father Hudson met Peggy Coloney who was a nurse at Saint
Elizabeth’s Hospital, Elizabeth, NJ. They both could see that the
emotional and spiritual needs of the sick and dying were not being
addressed. They took it upon themselves to do more and in 1983; they
founded the Center For Hope Hospice.
As 1997 began, Charlie was asked to be the Grand Marshal of the
Union County’s first Saint Patrick’s Day to be held that March. Drew
University in Madison, NJ had named him as the recipient of the Martin
Luther King Jr. Humanitarian of the Year Award. He was thrilled with
both honors. On January 21, 1997, the morning after he received
the honorable award at Drew University, he died of a heart attack.
At his Funeral Mass, his long time friend and mentor, Father
Frank McNulty, gave the homily and said, “Charlie knew who he was, and
he certainly knew who Christ was. He, Charlie, was Irish. How
thrilled he was to be named Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day
JOSEPH B. SULLIVAN
B. Sullivan was one of the founders of our parade, one of the
people whose reputation among his peers gave validity to our parade and
who put their time and their hard work into creating the best parade in
the State of New Jersey. He was a man dedicated to serving his
community, his family, his heritage and his faith, “a man of words and
deeds.” Joe took great pride in his Irish heritage, and was a 50 + year
member of the Daniel O’Connell Division of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians, and was a Division, State and National Officer of the
AOH. He was well known in New Jersey and beyond for his
involvement in the Irish-American world and for his 40 years of service
to the Elizabeth Fire Department, where he rose to the position of Fire
Director. Joe spent 16 years as FMBA Local 9 President. He served in
the US Army during WWII, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Joe
remained true to his alma mater, Saint Patrick’s in Elizabeth, and,
along with his wife Anne, was recognized by them with a lifetime
service award in 1983 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1995.
In 2000 the Joseph A. Nugent Association chose Joe as the recipient of
the Greta Sheridan Memorial Service Award. He was a member of many,
many civic organizations, and took his role in those organizations to
heart. He was active in pursuing the goals of those groups, usually in
a leadership role, and was always ready to lend a helping hand.
For many years Joe had the role of host for the Irish Flag
Raising at City Hall in Elizabeth. The Elizabeth AOH and LAOH continue
that tradition each year. In the 1980s he and his fellow Hibernians
began the tradition of a Saint Patrick’s Day Mass at Saint Pat’s, where
Joe was a Trustee, each March 17th. The Mass was moved to the Saturday
before Saint Patrick’s Day, beginning in 1997, and each year we begin
our Parade Day with Mass at the church named for our Patron Saint.
Joe’s grandest day was in 2001, when he was chosen to lead our parade
as the Grand Marshal. Joe marched in many parades and received many
awards and accolades over his long life, but nothing compared to his
experience that day. To finally have a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in
Union County, and to be honored as its Grand Marshal, was a
dream-come-true for Joe and his family. His wife Anne, their 6 children
and 5 grandchildren, along with their extended family, continue the
tradition as they march each year, celebrating his life, his memory,
and the wonderful example of service that he passed he passed on to
Patrick F. Riley
Patrick F. Riley a devoted member of many Irish-American organizations,
a former Roselle Park councilman and resident of the Holiday City Berkeley
section of Berkeley Township, NJ passed away on January 10, 2015.
Pat was born in South Portland, Maine. He had his bachelor's degree in
finance from St. Dunstan's University at Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Pat worked for AT&T as a methods specialist.
He was a man who helped everyone and loved his family very much. Pat
was a longtime member of many Irish-American organizations in Union,
Essex, and Ocean counties. He was a founding member of the Union County
St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and active member/supporter of many
clubs in Union, Essex, and Ocean counties. He was a long- time delegate
in the Essex County Newark St. Patrick's Day Parade with the Morley and
McGovern Association in Roselle Park, NJ.
Pat was a loyal supporter of many benefit functions held for many needy
families over the years. He was an active member of the Irish Festival
Committee held at PNC Arts Center and lately at various centers.
He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 4186 in
Kenilworth, NJ when he moved to Holiday City Berkeley, he became an
active member of Irish clubs and senior activities. Pat was a member
of the Ocean County Parade Committee, a member of the Ocean County
Democratic Club, and served on the Board of Education in Toms River.
Pat was a founding member of I.A.C.E.A., an organization for children
with cerebral palsy
Lester Sargent was born in Elizabeth, N.J.
on December 22,1943. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy and served as a
Cryptologist. After active duty he continued to serve in the navy reserve for
28 years, retiring as Chief Warrant Officer W-4.
Lester began his Law
Enforcement career in 1965 as a Correctional Officer at Rahway State Prison. In
1967 he transferred to the Union County Jail, then managed by the Union County
Sheriff's Office. Lester ran for County
Sheriff in 1978 and was
narrowly defeated by long-time Sheriff Ralph Froelich. Lester continued to
excel in the Sheriff's Office attaining the final rank of Chief.
Lester was a well known
historian, and penned several books on local historical events. His most
notable works were the histories of the Elizabeth Police department and the
Union County Sheriff's Office
Les was very proud of his
Irish heritage and served on several committees. Most notably the Union County
Emerald Society and the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee. He was
Parade Adjutant in 1999, one of the proudest days of his life. He was honored
as Irishman of the Year by the Joseph Nugent Association in 2006.
Lester is survived by his
wife of 40 years, Catherine and their sons Kevin and Brian. The proud legacy in
law enforcement continues; Kevin is a Sheriff's Officer and Brian is a
He will be truly
missed by all who knew him and he certainly would be proud to have a Division
of the 2016 St. Patrick's Day Parade named in his honor. Lester was honored,
posthumously, as the 2016 Joseph Sullivan Award recipient .