2019 Grand Marshals
The “Nally Boys” are moving from the back to the front of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Year after year, the “Nally Boys” could be seen at the end of the parade, which was fine with them. This year, however, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, on Saturday, March 2, will feature the Nally Boys, (Tom, Gene and John), leading a multitude of bands, floats and local organizations and businesses. Chosen because of their contributions to Kings Park and St. Joseph’s Church, they were selected, by the Parade Committee, as the 2019 Grand Marshals. The brothers will receive their parade sashes, at the Grand Marshal Ball, on Friday, November 23, at Larkfied.
Since the Parade’s inception, the Nally family has been a staple in the parade, resplendent and enthusiastic in a pick-up truck. The brainchild of Tom Nally, who passed away in 2017, was to include a truck, emblazoned with the “Nally Boys” banner. Each year, more family members joined in the festivities as nieces/nephews, in-laws and grandchildren rode on the truck. Besides the Nally family’s involvement in the Parade, the Parade Committee was impressed with their credentials: the family has lived in Kings Park for nearly 120 years, spanning six generations. Noted, also, was the family’s history at St. Joseph’s Church, which included 54 consecutive years whereby a Nally family member worked at the parish. The recognition of the Nally clan makes clear that this is intertwining of a family with deep roots, (the Nally, Baker, Gardner, Nowick, Gaudio, Dratch families) and Kings Park community. According to Gene Nally, “While walking in the parade, I related to my son, Liam, Kings Park’s history.” Diane Nally recalled shopping at Blue Jays, now the location of the Park Bakery, and parties at Ferguson’s, where the children could ride ponies. Fourth Avenue, where the Nally boys were raised, affectionately became known as “Nally Alley,” as the parents, Eugene and Bonnie, sister Terry and husband Keith Dratch, and John and Linda owned houses. Nearby, within a few blocks, were the homes of Tom and Diane, as well as Gene.
Tom, Gene and John share a number of commonalities, highlighting their lives and contributions. Each was born, educated and married in Kings Park; each decided to reside in Kings Park; each worked at St. Joseph’s Church, setting up for Bingo, as well as picnics and parties; each worked at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center and Town of Smithtown, on a part-time basis when attending college. Tom became a beloved teach of English and coach at the Kings Park High School. John could be found at Genovese Drugstore, where he worked as a pharmacist. Gene became involved in local politics, and prominent throughout the hamlet of Kings Park. Not only did Tom’s son, Thomas, become a teacher in Kings Park, following in his father’s footsteps, Tom’s daughters, Erin and Elizabeth, became educators, also.
The family’s ties to Kings Park grew, just as the families did. From great-grandmother Anna Dumphry, who was born in Kings Park, to six generations later, with Poppy, Brady and Juliana, the Nally family has left an indelible impression in Kings Park. The “Nally Boys,” with their appearance in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, displays the family’s ties to Kings Park. Poignantly, John explained “Me Love You,” a reference to the manner in which the Nally’s dad, Eugene, would sign cards. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will give Kings Park community an opportunity to tell the Nally family “Kings Park Loves You!”